First novels are tough. Many haven't mastered the art of "show, don't tell" in their story-telling. Mary Lawson does a beautiful job of getting you to feel the emotions of the characters and their varying reactions to the tragedy that occurs near the beginning of the book. This is especially hard, since the setting is a small farming community where you are not supposed to show your emotions. You are supposed to be stoic in face of anything and everything, although stoicism can easily lead to feelings of martyrdom.
Perhaps this novel captivated me, because I grew up in a household where words of anger were not spoken, but certainly the anger was there. She described very well what it's like to swallow that anger and keep it down throughout your life.
The ending is quiet, and will disappoint those who want some large explosive fanfare ending. But I found it very intense, even in its quiet realization. It's a fairly quick read and will be of interest to those who like to know what makes people tick.
The story of a woman's struggle to come to terms with childhood traumas and how they have impacted her adult life. An easy read that I didn't hate, nor did I love. It's like the vanilla pudding of books, tastes good, but not the most memorable.
Tender, exquisite. It's as if I was lying in bed all curled up in some cold sheets that were yanked away from me, but then replaced by a soft warm comforting blanket instead. I felt like I grew right along with Kate, even when that was difficult and a shock. Overall a wonderful book!
This is a wonderful story of family relationships. The ending really made me think about how everyone's perceptions are different and that you can be stuck with an incorrect idea that is sometimes hard to change. A lovely book, one of the best I've read lately.
This book was all that hoped it would be. It's a very fast read (one day), but it is well written. I made a connection with all of the characters and even some of the townsfolk. The way the story built I was worried that another member of the family would die and I was delighted to discover that it was only a dream that would be killed. Who's dream exactly?....that it what made the story so great. A true act of kindness does not require a thank you. We all have wants and dreams for our loved ones, but we have to be understand that they often find true happiness on their own, in spite of us. Great story!
It was very easy to get into. I was sitting on the edge of my seat to find out what awful thing happened and then was let down by what the author portrayed as the ultimate tragedy.I think I'll see what else she wrote because I do enjoy her style of writing.
I really enjoyed this book, the characters were very real to me and the setting was described well enough to almost become a character itself. The emotional conflicts between family members were developed and presented exceptionally well. I highly recommend this book.
Crow Lake was a very good read. It was placed in the Northern part of Ontario, which I have visited and yes there is a Crow Lake there. Mary Lawson was born in that area and now lives in Enlgand, but she certainly has not forgotten her roots, nor her prose in writing.I certainly enjoyed this book. Canada in that area is not the cold miserable land we often think of when we refer to Canada, Lawson is considered somewhat of an icon in Canada and has written three other books of value IMO> Bon
An interesting and quick read. It seems slightly autobiographical in a way and the author does state that she grew up in a town quite like the one that the book is set in. I don't think the time period is ever specified, and I couldn't figure it out from any of the descriptions, so I guess that makes this book a "timeless" tale?
I think this book is a bit overrated. I felt impatient through the first parts of the book, as the foreshadowing was heavy. Then the "event" was revealed and the book was over. A quick read. I think the writing was good and that this author has promise, though!
What saved this novel for me was the sense of place, conveyed by above-average writing. The story wasn't particularly atmospheric, but instead gave a pretty accurate picture of what life was like in a small, isolated farm town. Residents knew one other well enough to help out in a time of need, whether they liked the person or not.
Although Lawson wanted her readers to feel the heart-wrenching tragedy of the Morrison family for themselves, I never did. Nor did I feel much for the Pye family, who gave new meaning to dysfunctional. I wasn't moved by the brothers' struggles and abandoned dreams.
Mostly what pulled me from the story was the main character's dramatic way of phrasing things, always alluding to some nebulous future (the present). For someone so concerned with sinking her own emotions, Kate surfaced hers pretty clearly in her thoughts. Undertones of judgment crept into everything she felt and that put me off of her as a character. She became completely unrelatable to me when I learned more of her relationship with her current boyfriend. I'm not sure a relationship like theirs even exists (dating a year and he knows nothing, whatsoever, about her family).
The plot stayed just interesting enough to keep me reading; but its strength lies in the picture it paints in one's head.
Crow Lake is a bittersweet story of love, loss, expectations and redemption that had me hooked from the opening line.
The Morrison family is devastated by an unexpected loss. Sacrifices are made by some, decisions by others that have unforeseen consequences for all. While the family copes with their loss, the Pye family is dealing with their own conflicts. Eventually the families fates intertwine, with unexpected results.
Told through the eyes of Kate, who looks back on her familys struggles, the book paints a beautiful picture of the Northern Ontario area. The characters of the Morrison family (Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo) are wonderfully developed, as are several of the minor characters, the only exception being the Pye family, although an undercurrent of fear and dread are evoked every time they enter the story.
All though the ending was a little anti-climatic, the book was beautifully written and I read it in one sitting. I recommend it very highly.
I really enjoyed this book - it was really just a rather beautifully sad story about families. It was really quite good - better than I thought it would be - but books with flashbacks and a mostly child-narrator are usually some of my favorites. The Canadian setting made a lovely backdrop - even if the story, overall, was a little predictable. Still, it was fun to read and I'll definitely keep an eye out for her!
"A toughing meditation on the power of loyalty and loss, on the ways in which we pay our depts and settle old scores and on what it means to love, to accept, to succeed-and to negotiate fate's obstacle courses."-People
I like a few other readers was excited to start this book after reading so many great reviews... what were they all thinking?? This book was so boring and the back and forth between then and now was painstakingly slow. The main character was so unlikable, as a child and as an adult. Her fascination with her brother Matt, was not fully explained, and really all the characters could have been written better. The layout of the book I also felt was badly edited. I literally had to force myself to finish it because I figured I'd already spent so much of my time I figured I had to know the end. What a let down.... I found it way to corny and anti-climatic. Seriously, if you're on the fence about this one, keep on searching. Leave this book alone, you'll be doing yourself a favor!
I was really hoping I'd like this book, but I just couldn't get into it. I read a couple of chapters but had to put it down. I am not sure what bothered me about it, but it didn't pull me in so I quit reading it fairly early on.
This was a beautiful story about overcoming loss. Kate Morrison and her three siblings are dealt a difficult fate... the fate forces each of them to make decisions and sacrifices, often a great personal loss.
The story deals with how the other family members view these sacrifices, and how these choices do not measure up to certain expectations.
After reading this book, I'm suddenly very homesick (despite never having lived on a farm) as it made me long for childhood and the way things "used to be."
Written in a flashback and present day style. Young woman recalling how the family adapted after a major disaster, the roles each family member fell into in order to remain a family. Characters well developed and interesting individually and as a family group. Setting is Ontario wilderness in the mid-century, and represented with knowledge and clarity.
Here is a gorgeous, slow-burning story set in the wild terrain 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. Center stage 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 misunderstandings, 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.
From the Wash Post review: "The kind of book that keeps you reading well past midnight; you grieve when it's over. Then you start pressing it on friends."
From the back of the book: "A gorgeous, slow-burning story set in the terrain of northern Ontario, where heartbreak and hardship are mirrored in the landscape.... In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, 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."
Here is a story set in the wild terrain 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.