Jalna (novel)

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For other meanings, see Jalna (disambiguation).
Jalna
Author Mazo de la Roche
Country Canada
Language English
Series Jalna (or Whiteoaks)
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
June 1927
Media type Print
ISBN 0-316-18000-9
Followed by Whiteoaks of Jalna

Jalna is a novel by the Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche.

It is the first of a 16-novel family saga about the Whiteoak family. First published in 1927, Jalna won the Atlantic Monthly Press's first $10,000 Atlantic Prize Novel award. De la Roche went on to write about the Whiteoak family for the next 30 years, establishing a place for herself in popular Canadian literature. The Jalna series has been translated into many languages and was adapted for stage, radio, and television. John Cromwell directed a 1935 film adaptation, Jalna. In 1972, it was filmed for television as The Whiteoaks of Jalna.

Jalna is a city in west-central India, used by de la Roche as the name of a manor house built by a retired officer of the British army who had served in that country. It resembles an actual house in the Clarkson neighborhood of Mississauga, Ontario, called Benares. The house was built in the late 1850s for a retired officer of the British army who had served in India, James B. Harris. In India, both Jalna and Benares (now called Varanasi) were the locations of British garrisons. Operated as a city museum, Benares Historic House once occupied a larger estate, part of which de la Roche called home for a time.

The story[edit]

The series tells the story of one hundred years of the Whiteoak family covering from 1854 to 1954. The novels were not written in sequential order, however, and each can be read as an independent story.

There are similarities and as well as differences in the experiences of the Whiteoak family and de la Roche's. While the lives and successes of the Whiteoaks rise and fall, there remained for them the steadiness of the family manor, known as Jalna. De la Roche's family endured the illness of her mother, the perpetual job searches of her father, and the adoption of her orphaned cousin while being moved 17 times. Her family did work a farm for a few years for a wealthy man who owned the farm for a hobby. Several critics believe that Finch from Finch's Fortune (1932) is a reflection of de la Roche herself. The names of many of the characters were taken from gravestones in a Newmarket, Ontario cemetery.

The Jalna series has sold more than eleven million copies in 193 English and 92 foreign editions. In 1935, the film Jalna, based on the novel, was released by RKO Radio Pictures and, in 1972, a CBC television series was produced based on the series.

The books[edit]

Jalna series (in narrative order)

Posterity[edit]

External links[edit]