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The Blythes Are Quoted by L M Montgomery

The Blythes Are Quoted (original 2009; edition 2018)

by L M Montgomery (Author), Benjamin Lefebvre (Editor)

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2181191,006 (3.63)25
Contains 15 short stories set in and around the Blythes' Prince Edward Island community of Glen St. Mary.
Title:The Blythes Are Quoted
Authors:L M Montgomery (Author)
Other authors:Benjamin Lefebvre (Editor)
Info:Penguin Canada (2018), 544 pages
Collections:Your library, ebooks
Tags:fiction, poetry, short stories, young adult fiction, general fiction

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The Blythes Are Quoted by L. M. Montgomery (2009)



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3.5 stars ( )
  the_lirazel | Apr 6, 2020 |
Dark. Far darker than previous titles in the series. But definitely worthy of a place on the bookshelf. Somehow, when the stories are framed by vignettes of the Blythe family grieving for Walter, the book hangs together better and makes more sense than Road to Yesterday. ( )
  muumi | Dec 5, 2018 |
What a melancholy book. (There will be some spoilers here for the story of the Blythe family: be warned.) A collection of stories in which the Blythes are more or less tangential – "quoted", bracketed by post-Great War snippets of Blythe conversation and poetry by Anne and Walter. Actually, in a fair number of them the Blythes are loathed, which feels strange – and, to LMM's credit, is not necessarily an indicator of whether we ought to like the character doing the loathing. Some are bad 'uns – but not all.

Oh, Walter.

There are some strange patterns in the stories collected in The Blythes Are Quoted. Those who don't like Anne ("Uncle Stephen did not like the Blythes ... he said he did not like educated women" … "Nobody in the Brewster clan, it seemed, approved of the Blythes" … "Miss Shelley could not conceive of Mrs. Blythe cherishing bitterness for thirty years. She liked her but she thought her too shallow for that.") and who feel slighted by them ("I hinted it to Dr. Blythe ... and such a snub as he gave me! And Dr. Blythe can give snubs when he wants to, I can assure you.") As I said, it's unsettling to run into this attitude.

Then there is an alarming theme of animal abuse, looked at completely differently than we do now ("Even if you'd taken the money and burned the binder house I'd have wanted you" – this to someone who killed a dog and a cat and chickens and a goat; "'what he did to the kitten' ... That memory was intolerable") – and, on a similar track, fox farms. In three separate stories foxes are mentioned as a commodity. Odd.

There was also a sort of a theme of unresolved questions. "Epworth Rectory. I don't think that mystery has ever been solved." "Susan, to herself:-'I could tell them the story of that fiddle if I liked. But I won't. It's too sad.'" (Thank you, Susan – there was enough sadness in this book as it was.)

There are still all the things I've always loved about L.M. Montgomery's writing: humor ("Chrissie felt much better. 'In about twenty years or so I'll be pretty well over it,' she said") and pathos (not always a bad thing) and solid story-telling. But this is the dark side, keeping uppermost in my mind throughout the book that Lucy Maud took her own life. Grief and haunting and regret and pain … there are still happy endings. But the interspersed Blythe reminiscences and conversation are a reminder that "happily ever after" never takes into account wars and the deaths of children. It was surprisingly hard to read … I don't think The Blythes Are Quoted is going to be part of my semi-annual LMM-reread. ( )
  Stewartry | Oct 27, 2015 |
The Blythes Are Quoted, the stories and poems that comprise L. M. Montgomery's final work, has only recently been published in its full and final form as the author intended. It was delivered to the publisher on the day of Montgomery's death (by whose hand, it is not known) and was significantly revised by the publisher, appearing in various butchered forms over the years until the original manuscript was recently rediscovered by a Montgomery scholar and published in 2009. Each story stands alone, connected only by the common thread of the Blythes or Susan Baker being mentioned somehow. Montgomery placed poetry (sometimes one poem, sometimes several) as interludes between the stories, along with the thoughts of the Ingleside folk on each poem after it is read.

Much has been said about the content of these stories, with their whispers of anti-war sentiment, so different from the heartfelt patriotism that gives Rilla of Ingleside its driving theme. I hardly think the anti-war ideas are so prevalent as the authors of the foreword and afterword maintain, but it's true that Montgomery was disillusioned that the "Great War," World War I, had not produced the wonderful utopia so many had confidently expected. Many of the poems are about death, or were written by Walter who was killed in France. We see how grief endures, how the family continues to mourn Walter and talk of him long after his death.

There is much more here than Montgomery's veiled questioning of the war, however. The darker themes hinted at in many of her earlier works come to the center here. The first story in particular, "Some Fools and a Saint," I found disquieting. And yet these themes — murder, illegitimacy, abuse, hatred, death — are not utterly foreign to the sunny world most of us think of when we consider Montgomery's body of work. I think it's just when we experience them in the lives of the characters directly involved, not through Anne or the Blythe family, that their bitterness is less muted. But I don't want to give a false impression; there are some happier stories scattered amidst the darker ones, and most of the darker ones contrive to have something of a happy ending (wherever possible).

Over and over we find that the Blythes are the plumb line for their small world. The reader quickly learns that if a character doesn't like the Blythes (especially Mrs. Dr. Blythe), he/she will turn out to be a villain of some stripe or another. Conversely, characters who admire the Blythes and quote their words are good and trustworthy. I also noticed the constant references to Mrs. Dr. Blythe's physical attractiveness — her seeming agelessness, stylish clothing, and gray-green eyes. To be fair, Montgomery also mentions several times how Anne is known for not gossiping and for having the best-behaved children in Glen St. Mary. But it seems so important that Anne remain beautiful, no matter how old she gets.

There are a few obvious mistakes in the text; the one that jumped out at me was Charlie Sloan being referred to as "Charlie Pye." I was surprised this wasn't fixed by the editor, but he does acknowledge it along with a few other errors he did not change (Roy Gardiner's name being consistently misspelled as "Gardner," a reference to Anne having five children instead of six, etc.). But the editor, perhaps thinking this collection had had enough reconstructive surgery over its lifetime, decided to leave the errors as they stood to stay as close as possible to Montgomery's original manuscript.

It is sad to learn more about Montgomery's life and think about how someone who could write stories of such domestic bliss could have such a difficult family life herself. But maybe that's why her pictures of happy marriages and golden childhoods are so compelling; she wrote them to compensate herself for what she did not have.

So overall, I had mixed feelings about this book and I'm sure many other Montgomery fans felt the same. I am not sure I will ever really agree with the author of the foreword, that with the publication of The Blythes Are Quoted there are now nine Anne books, not eight. This latest work is not similar enough to the other stories to claim full kinship. It is, perhaps, a first cousin, but not a sibling. ( )
5 vote atimco | May 22, 2013 |
I very much enjoyed this book, although the interspersing of short stories, poetry and interludes leads to slow and very deliberate reading. Although most of the stories have already appeared in the collection [b:The Road to Yesterday|8137|The Road to Yesterday|L.M. Montgomery|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1215011081s/8137.jpg|166374], and the first story (Some Fools and a Saint) in the collection [b:Among the Shadows Tales from the Darker Side|65709|Among the Shadows Tales from the Darker Side|L.M. Montgomery|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1215017098s/65709.jpg|1435983], the stories were for the most part abridged in those books (and quite significantly at times); in The Blythes are Quoted they appear in their complete, unabridged forms. This is a must-read for any L.M. Montgomery fan (but regrettably, the book does not seem to be readily available in the United States, just Canada). ( )
  gundulabaehre | Mar 31, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
L. M. Montgomeryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lefebvre, BenjaminEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Epperly, Elizabeth RollinsForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Epperly, Elizabeth RollinsAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lefebvre, BenjaminIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Contains 15 short stories set in and around the Blythes' Prince Edward Island community of Glen St. Mary.

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Book description
Adultery, illegitimacy, revenge, murder, and death – these are not the first terms we associate with L.M. Montgomery. But in The Blythes Are Quoted, completed at the end of her life,the author brings topics such as these to the fore.
Intended by Montgomery to be the ninth volume in her bestselling series featuring Anne Shirley Blythe, The Blythes Are Quoted takes Anne and her family a full two decades beyond anything else she published about them, and some of its subject matter is darker than we might expect.
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