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.
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(198mm x 129mm x 22mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
This is a debut novel of astonishing power, and an intimate dissection of the heartbreaking nature of sacrifice. Canada is a vast land of wide open spaces, yet Mary Lawson's novel focuses on the tiny community of Crow Lake with a suffocating intensity. Here, the Morrisons and the Pyes have held sway for generations. The Morrisons have always set great store by education, ever since Grandmother Morrison took to reading a book while she was spinning. But tragedy strikes, and the carefully laid plans for the education of the Morrison children are shelved as the four young orphans have to fight for their very existence. Meanwhile, life on the isolated Pye farm continues under a conspiracy of silence, as the sins of earlier generations seem destined to be repeated. Even more sacrifices are demanded of the Morrisons, sacrifices that Kate, the narrator of this tragic story, finds too painful to contemplate. She has left the stifling closeness of life at Crow Lake to carve out a new life for herself in Toronto as an invertebrate zoologist, and believes she has thrown off the old family ties, but as she returns to Crow Lake for a birthday party she is forced to confront her past mistakes; it is time to learn to forgive and to make her peace with her family. Mary Lawson?s novel represents certain moral expectations that seem out of place in modern society - unflinching family loyalty, obedience and an acute sense of what is right. Sacrifice and a sense of duty are unquestioned, whether it is Luke Morrison insisting that he will support his siblings whatever it takes, or Marie Pye keeping silent about her father's brutality. Kate moves uneasily between her two worlds - Crow Lake where time seems to have stood still for generations and modern life in Toronto. How she eventually reconciles these contradictory parts of her own nature is the crux of this intensely moving novel. Crow Lake is a compelling work that will haunt the reader long after the final page has been turned. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Mary Lawson
Mary Lawson's first novel, Crow Lake, was admired by critics and adored by readers all over the world; translated into 19 languages and published in 21 countries, it was a New York Times bestseller and spent 75 weeks on the bestseller lists in her native Canada. She was born and brought up in a farming community in Ontario, a distant relative of L. M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Lawson came to England in 1968, is married with two grown-up sons and lives in Kingston-upon-Thames. Her acclaimed first novel was chosen by You magazine for its Reading Group and won the McKitterick Prize.