Monday 7 March 2011

Lawson, Mary "Crow Lake"

Lawson, Mary "Crow Lake" - 2002

I've read this book at least three times, the first time when I borrowed it, the second time when we read it in the international book club and then again with my German book club. I really, really loved this novel. Although it had been my suggestion, two other members had read it and confirmed this choice, so it was taken into our reading list. I think it was one of the two only books we read that year that everybody enjoyed.

This is the story of a girl who is raised by her two older brothers and it describes the struggle they go through on their way to adulthood. The book combines everything, tragedy, drama, love story, sacrifices, the "togetherness" of a small community. The characters are well written, and so are the episodes.

A lot of the everyday childhood stories reminded me of my own. I thought the children must have been about my age and a lot of the rural life in Canada must have been similar to the rural life everywhere else in the world, well, at least in the western world. Mind you, not everyone in the book club agreed with that, the younger ones thought they had been their age. I loved the book and so did everyone else because it made No. 1 on our Favourite Books' List of that year.

From the back cover:

"Crow Lake is that rare find, a first novel so quietly assured, so compelling, and with an emotional charge so perfectly controlled, that you sense at once that this is the real thing - a literary experience to relish, a book to lose yourself in, and a name to watch.

Here is a gorgeous, slowburning story of families growing up and tearing each other apart in rural Northern Ontario, where tragedy and hardship are mirrored in the landscape. Centre stage are the Morrisons whose tragedy is insidious and divisive. Orphaned young, Kate Morrison was her older brother Matt's protegee, her curious 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 tragedy of her own emotional life. She thinks she's outgrown her family, who were once her entire world - but she can't seem to outgrow her childhood or lighten the weight of their mutual past.

We discussed this in our international book club in March 2004 and in my German book club in March 2023.

I have also read other novels by Mary Lawson, you can find the reviews here.

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2023.

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