The Stone Carvers did not draw me in as much as I hoped it would based on the description. The plot is rather vast and follows several different characters, and the narrative changes perspectives from one character to another through-out the novel. We learn the story of Father Gstir, who built a large stone church in a German-settled town in Northern Ontario; Joseph Becker, a wood carver who made many things for Father Gstir; Klara Becker, the granddaughter of Joseph who learned to carve from him and is a spinster at age 40 following many losses in her younger years; Tilman Becker, Klara’s brother who also carves and has wunderlust from a young age; Allward, a Canadian carver who designs a large post-WWI monument in France; and Giorgio, an Italian-Canadian stone carver and friend of Tilman. The result of all these different perspectives in the book is that I never really got attached to any of the characters. Things felt a bit disconnected and none of their stories grabbed me enough to really care what happened to them. The plot line had a slight fantastical sense to it; not that anything actually magical happened, but it didn’t quite feel wholly realistic and believable. The very end of the book felt unnecessary, as there was a paragraph at the end where the author essentially tells the reader what the main themes were in the book – as if she didn’t quite believe that the book itself would show us these things.
All that said, the story was mildly interesting, at least enough for me to finish the book. There were aspects of the story that were beautiful in a way, telling of love and loss and finding beauty. I may give Urquhart a second chance with one of her other books.