The Dragon’s Song, by Bernice Morgan (illustrated by Jennifer Morgan)

dragonssongI’m sorry to say that one of the best books I’ve read recently is a book I won’t be able to recommend to you — not because you wouldn’t enjoy it, but because you might have a hard time getting your hands on it. The Dragon’s Song is a limited-edition art book from novelist Bernice Morgan and her daughter, printmaker Jennifer Morgan. Bernice’s novella, her first published story since 2008’s Cloud of Bone, is illustrated by Jennifer’s woodcut engravings. I’m related to both author and illustrator so I got to go to the launch and get a copy, and while I believe this limited-edition, rather expensive release is appropriate for such a lovely and beautifully-illustrated piece of work, it does make me sad to realize that this story won’t reach the thousands of readers who would love to read another Bernice Morgan tale.

The novella opens with an old woman in Coley’s Point, Newfoundland, trying to adapt to widowhood after the death of her minister husband. Though neighbours and friends only know her as a quiet, white-haired old lady, Dora Mercer has a past life they don’t suspect. As a newlywed she accompanied her husband to China, where they served as missionaries. What happened there still haunts her a lifetime later, and “haunting,” along with “beautiful,” are the words that best describe this story and its accompanying illustrations for me. If you do get a chance to read it, don’t hesitate!

The Dragon’s Song is available, while copies last, from the publisher, Running the Goat Books and Broadsides, at a price that reflects the fact that it is a work art.




Filed under Canadian author, Fiction -- general, Fiction -- historical, Newfoundland author

6 responses to “The Dragon’s Song, by Bernice Morgan (illustrated by Jennifer Morgan)

  1. Steve

    St. John’s (SJH) A.C. Hunter library has 4 copies, one is currently in circulation, and single copies are also available at St. John’s (SJA) M. Mews / St. John’s (SJB) M. Donovan / Mount Pearl (AMP) R. King / Gander (GGR) and Corner Brook (WCB). – June 1st/20016

  2. Is there any plan to print this as a normal book? I just borrowed it from the Mews library, and it is a lovely story (and of course a really beautiful book). But only having it as a 100-copy handset, hand printed book doesn’t make sense!

    BTW, Trudy, I’ve just come across your books – didn’t know them before – and I’m really enjoying them! I’m happy that I still have more to read.

    • Thanks! I haven’t heard of any plans to release The Dragon’s Song as a mass-produced book — I don’t think Running the Goat Press does that, as they don’t find it profitable enough. It’s meant to exist as a limited-edition art piece, which I realize is frustrating for people who’d like to have wider access to read the story, but at least it is available through libraries, which is good.

      • Back when Anne Barry and Tara Bryan and Kevin Majors produced Gros Morne Time Lines, someone – not sure who – later published a replica of it with normal printing, not all done by hand. Maybe Island Press? That’s what I was thinking of, not that Marnie would actually produce them in large quantities. Of course that would be for Bernice and Jennifer to think about, I guess.

      • Yes, I don’t really know much about the details of it, just that at the time it was released they all said there was no plan for a mass-produced version.

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