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Crow Lake Paperback – 6 Feb 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 Feb. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099429322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099429326
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Lawson was born and brought up in a farming community in Ontario. A distant relative of L. M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables, she moved to England in 1968. She is the author of Crow Lake and The Other Side of the Bridge.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Canadian writer Mary Lawson's debut novel is a beautifully crafted and shimmering tale of love, death and redemption set in the eponymous Crow Lake, an isolated rural community where time has stood still. Narrated by 26-year-old Kate Morrison, we dive in and out of the troubled woman's childhood memories over the passage of a year--when she was seven and her parents were killed in a motoring accident, leaving Kate, her younger sister Bo and two older brothers Matt and Luke orphaned. The proverbial can of worms is opened for our heroine when she receives an invitation to Matt's son's 18th birthday. The successful zoologist and professor, so accustomed to dissecting everything through a microscope, must suddenly analyse her own relationship and come to terms with her past before she forsakes a future with the man she loves. She is still in turmoil over the events of that fateful summer and winter 20 years ago when the tragedy of another local family, the Pyes, spilled over into their own lives with earth-shattering consequences. One dark night, a shivering Laurie, Pye's only son, stands mute in their porchlight, straining to share something with them but, startled, turns and runs away. The many strange, longing looks which pass between Matt and Marie, Pye's eldest daughter. And the awful night when Marie stands in their doorway whispering unspeakable horrors. In Kate's eyes, the Pye family drown out the hopes and dreams of her own in that one moment. But does the tragedy really lie in the past or is it in the present? Lawson's narrative flows effortlessly in ever-increasing circles, swirling impressions in the reader's mind until form takes shape and the reader is left to reflect on the whole. Crow Lake is a wonderful achievement that will ripple in and out the reader's consciousness long after the last page is turned. --Nicola Perry --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"Beautifully written, carefully balanced, Mary Lawson constructs a history of sacrifice, emotional isolation and family love without sounding a false note" (Daily Mail)

"Full of blossoming insights and emotional acuity...a compelling and serious page-turner" (Observer)

"Lawson's evocative storytelling...knows just how to draw the reader on...this is a novel of disappointed hopes and self-delusion, but it has a feel-good finish. Move over Lake Wobegon" (Spectator)

"A novel of a darkly unpredictable and compelling kind. It is a wise book" (Financial Times)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "rosie_grace" on 27 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
This novel combines a compelling plot with emotional insight. The characters in it are conveyed with tenderness and empathy, and the way they struggle to cope with their own lives, and each other, is moving.
Seen through the eyes of Kate Morrison (older sister to Bo, and younger sister to Matt and Luke), the trials and tribulations of a unique family unit are brought to life. The story manages to convey a rich vein of wisdom without being preachy.
Tricky subjects such as fate, guilt and forgiveness are dealt with, and by the end of the book I felt like I had made the journey through these with Kate.
This is not dissimilar to Anne Tyler. Mary Lawson also seems to find magic and beauty in the seemingly ordinary pattern of everyday life.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mrs C on 21 May 2005
Format: Paperback
It is a VERY long time since I read through a book in one sitting AND am about to read it again! A beautiful story, reminding me alot of To Kill A Mockingbird in that it's told in the first person by a girl now grown and looking back on her childhood. Some may say I shouldn't compare this, Mary Lawson's first novel, to such a classic as Mockingbird, but that was Harper Lee's first and ONLY novel remember.
Well written, good story, unputdownable - what more can a reader want? Hopefully this is not Lawson's ONLY novel!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jenna on 1 April 2008
Format: Paperback
I want to say this is a gentle story, but I do not wish to infer that it is shallow or lukewarm. It is exactly the opposite. It has great depth, understanding, beauty and strength. I had the voice of Kate in my head as she narrated her tale. The writing is so keen I could clearly decipher her accent and the measured but deliberate way she speaks.
The atmosphere created by the writing had me holding my breath waiting to see what happened next. There is no razzmatazz, no bells and whistles, just simple, well written, from the heart storytelling, which is so insightful it made me wonder if the author lived out some of the scenarios herself.
As the pages turned with ease I was listening to the story of a child, and a young woman carrying her inner child inside her and still trying to cope with the fall out from the trauma following the loss of her parents at 7 years of age.
The novel has an aura of mystery and suspense that expands slowly as the tale reaches its climax. Kate is ultimately forced to confront her painful past in order to exorcise the ghosts and face the truth for her own sake. A stunningly beautiful read, which provides food for thought afterwards. Enjoy!!!
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful By D miles on 13 May 2007
Format: Paperback
I could not put this book down! The story of farmlife in the Canadian wilderness and the struggle to survive and not resign yourself to taking whatever life puts in front of you, was (for me)the main theme of the book. Following the sudden death of their parents, the four Morrison children (Kate, Matt, Luke and baby Bo) struggle to survive, without sacrificing Matt's only chance to gain a scholarship and make something of himself. Interwoven with the Morrisons' lives are those of the small farming community, who, despite their own poverty, strive to help the family to cope. Then there is the Pye family who, because of the hostility of their father, are set apart from the community. Then, the two Morrison boys notice that something is horribly amiss with the Pyes, particularly with Laurie, the son who is mercilessly bullied by his father. Kate and Matt discover that Laurie has scars on his body. Being only young themselves, the Morrison family struggle with this knowledge and whether (and who) they should tell. then Laurie disappears. The main focus of the book seems to be upon the relationship between Kate and Matt and the subtle changes that creep in when an ultimate opportunity seems to be thrown away. This book is written with great feeling, but without undue sentimentality. However, I found myself often 'filling up', my eyes brimming with tears as Kate realises that her years of resentment have been misplaced all along. I loved the ending - it made me feel good about the future for each character.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By LindyLouMac on 21 May 2007
Format: Paperback
I read this in two sittings - a beautifully crafted novel about familial life. Disaster strikes and older brothers pledge to bring up the younger siblings. A beautiful setting as well,in the abundant natural surroundings of the Canadian outback. With great descriptions of pond life, I did wonder if these were meant to make comparisions with real life? I loved the way the story is told by Kate, now looking back as an adult on her uncoventional childhood. It turns out that some of it was just not as it seemed to her at the time.

I do think though that social services would have been on the case in real life, but then this is fiction!

Enjoyable worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reader 11 on 26 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
I can't praise this book highly enough - I just loved it all the way through. Everything seems 'real' and 'right' - the setting, the characters, the dialogue, the scenes, the plot as a whole. The writing is wonderful, and often very funny - from the first paragraph you know you're in for a treat. It's one of those books that you want to read slowly and savour, but you can't stop turning the pages.

The characters are brought to life so well, and by the end you really care about what happens to them.

One of my favourite books ever!
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