by Bernice Morgan
Random Passage is the story of 2 families from very different backgrounds who come to settle on Cape Random, Newfoundland in the early 1800s. Living on the cape when the families arrive is Thomas Hutchings who came to Newfoundland the year before to escape his past in Europe.
Spanning 15 years in the lives of this small community, this is a story of survival, relationships, personalities, unspoken memories and unspoken love. The focus is on Lavinia Andrews who was 17-years-old when her family left England because of legal problems involving her brother.
Thomas Hutchings is person of intrigue. Happily, the last few chapters of the book tell his story. I was a bit worried that I would never learn his story.
I liked this book a lot and think it provided an honest look at life on the shore of Newfoundland in that time period. I was struck with the isolation and dependence on each other for life. I am kicking myself that I didn't buy Morgan's sequel, Waiting for Time, from the ferry's book store on our ride to or back from Newfoundland. I had Random Passage on my bookshelf at home, but didn't want to buy the next book until I knew I liked the first.
M and I did drive out to see the sight created for the TV mini-series (We did a LOT of driving while in Newfoundland - loved it!) Anyway the spot is very remote even with the help of paved roads. It was very beautiful in the summer, but I can't even imagine living there in the winter. in the conditions they had.
Lavinia's thoughts/feelings after her first winter. "Despite all, things break, crumble, rust, disintegrate, fade, lose their shine, until it seems to Lavinia that life itself has turned grey. She longs to see colour, to smell green, to taste green, is in a rage of impatience for spring."
Thomas and Ned became best friends even though they were so different. This is something Thomas thought about Ned, "His mind was amazing. Ned could encompass a new thought, grasp it, examine it, twist and turn it and hold it up to the light until you saw what a wonderful shining thing it was."
I like this decription of Mary. I think it may be a local colloquialism." Mary is not a subtle woman, and her anger is frightening, but when she hwas achieved what she wants, she reverts to silence and good sense. As Meg has often said, Mary has no side doors."