Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Book Club: Crow Lake - Mary Lawson

Crow Lake
Crow Lake is that rare find, a first novel so quietly assured, so emotionally pitch perfect, you know from the opening page that this is the real thing-a literary experience in which to lose yourself, by an author of immense talent.

Here is a gorgeous, slow-burning story set in the rural "badlands" of northern Ontario, where heartbreak and hardship are mirrored in the landscape.  For the farming Pye family, life is a Greek tragedy where the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons, and terrible events occur-offstage.

Centerstage are the Morrisons, whose tragedy looks more immediate if less brutal, but is, in reality, insidious and divisive.  Orphaned young, Kate Morrison was her older brother Matt's protegee, her fascination for pond life fed by his passionate interest in the natural world.  Now a zoologist, she can identify organisms under a microscope but seems blind to the state of her own emotional life.  And she thinks she's outgrown her siblings-Luke, Matt, and Bo- who were once her entire world.

In this universal drama of family love and misunderstanding, of resentments harbored and driven underground, Lawson ratchets up the tension with heartbreaking humor and consummate control, continually overturning one's expectations right to the very end.  Tragic, funny, unforgettable, Crow Lake is a quiet tour de force that will catapult Mary Lawson to the forefront of fiction writers today.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book is told from the point of view of Kate and has many flashbacks to her childhood.  Her parents died when she was about 7 years old and she was raised by her two brothers, Luke and Matt.  Throughout the story we know that something occurred to cause a drift between herself and Matt but things unfold slowly throughout the book.  The thing I liked about it is that even though things are not revealed right away the author writes the story in such a way that I want to continue reading it.  I was happy with the conclusion of this story.

Our next book:  Fun Home - Alison Bechndel

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