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The Way the Crow Flies [Paperback]

Ann-Marie MacDonald
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book by MacDonald, Ann-Marie

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful writing of a solid tale March 22 2009
By Schmadrian TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I'd put off reading this novel since it came out. Mostly because of the effect that 'Fall on Your Knees' had on me. (Which included handing out more than fifty copies to friends and family since its publication.) Fear must have been part of it, fear about how much better this one might be, might not be... 'Fall' was proof to me of how great writing could be. The author writing something better might have had me intimidated (yes, I'm a writer), and yet her writing something 'not better, not even as good as' might have disappointed me so much to have had a deleterious effect. Fortunately, neither possibility resulted.

Ms MacDonald is an extremely talented writer. There is an assuredness in her writing, in how she executes what she does, that goes deep. For me, a novel (or a screenplay for that matter) has its author taking the reader by the hand, saying "I have a story for you. Walk with me while I tell it to you..." When this is done with confidence (and not just 'writerly ability, getting the vocabulary, the grammar, the construction right) the whole reading experience is taken up a level, approaching being transported. And yet she does not 'over-write'. She is not prone to 'purple prose'. She is as likely to throw out a juicy riff as she is to dig deep. Clearly a great observer of people, she understands the complexities of character and relays them with honesty and humour. Moreover, though every piece of writing is, at its core, an expression of the writer, 'Crow' is clean, unencumbered by 'at least to these eyes' literary earmarks.

This novel has a lot going on. And yes, I'm not sure that it needed to be as expansive as it is. ("Couldn't you just take out a few notes?") When I began the final 150 or so pages, I confess I did mutter 'This better be good...
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Dec 12 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is simply one of the best books I have read in a very long time. The way in which MacDonald evokes the innocence of early 60's domestic life in Canada and then shatters that image is stunning. On one level, this is a mystery and another, it is an insightful examination of the destructive power of lies. A truly great read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! July 30 2007
Format:Paperback
"The Way the Crow Flies" is one of the best books I have read this year-- I work (toil is more like it) in a bookstore, so I get to read a great many things-- mostly crap, to be honest. MacDonald's voice as a writer is so unique-- it is almost trance-inducing. She has a complete mastery of language and can take you right into the world of her characters, into their lives, into their minds. I found the story itself just as fascinating, the same way the books "Bark of the Dogwood" and "Glass Castle" are full of great characters and heartbreak. For anyone who has ever kept a secret (and who among us has not), no matter how huge or how tiny, this book is an intense reminder of the prices paid. I cried my eyes out at the end of the book--I don't want to give anything away about this story; read it and take from it what you can. My interaction with my own family will never be the same after this book.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing but excessive & depressing July 2 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I was very hopeful when starting this novel, however I agree with the Amazon.ca & Books Canada reviews. I love the descriptions and the flow of the writing. Unfortunately, Ms. Macdonald tries to include too many details and the last 150 pages are difficult to finish and more horrific than necessary.
It has the feeling that things just aren't horrible enough and every gruesome detail needs to be revealed and forced upon you.
I felt depressed by the overly sunny beginning to the completely shattered ending. No light is left glowing. The description of the murder was excessive & not truly believable. The description of the lead character's adult life was monotonous.
There is something to the saying "Less is more".
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4.0 out of 5 stars A page-turner from start to finish June 10 2009
Format:Paperback
Since there are numerous reviews revealing the plot and characters, I will not take up time and space and go down that same road again. Contrary to many reviewers' opinions, I did not find the book depressing. On the positive side, it was a real page-turner from start to finish and one of the main characters, Madaline, kept me chuckling along the way especially in her youth. The book begins in the 60's, and for me, brought back many memories of old songs, movies and celebrieties mentioned that were long forgotten. (If you are too young to reminisce about Dion and "The Wanderer", well...you simply don't know what you missed!) There was also a touch of everything from family life, and the exuberance of youth, to rape and murder -"something for everyone," as one might say. The book is a lengthy one and has a surprise twist at the end regarding who actually committed the murder.

On the negative side, the participation of Madaline's father's (Jack's) involvement in the air force, past activities and rehashing of outdated military events become boring and tedious at best. Overall, I would recommend the book, although there may be parts of Jack's long-winded military career, which really added nothing to the book, that the reader might like to skim through or pass by entirely. It often seemed like the author was trying to write two books but decided to combine them in one, i.e., one about Madeline, her friends, family life, and murder, and one about Jack's life in the military. Somehow the two simply did not gel well together.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Compelling
Nine year old Madeleine is used to moving. She moves all the time. Her father, a member of the Canadian Air Force, receives a new post every four years. Read more
Published on May 1 2009 by Jamieson Villeneuve
4.0 out of 5 stars Completely engrossing!
Macdonald is a fine writer who Canada should be proud of. Her writing is exquisite and her narrative tightly woven. The story is especially engrossing. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2008 by Bethann McLaren
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!
This book kept be spellbound from beginning to end. I loved the author's descriptions of the places in Ontario -- it was so refreshing to read a book that takes place in Canada,... Read more
Published on May 16 2008 by A Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
In a word: wow

I stayed up until 3am to finish this book because I was so tied up in the characters that I just had to know how things turned out. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2007 by Melanie
4.0 out of 5 stars Set aside some time for this book
A BIG book at 832 pages. Takes a bit to get into. Set in the 60s -Reminiscent of the Truscott case. Characters so well drawn, you'd recognize them on the street. Read more
Published on July 4 2007 by Mary Ellen
5.0 out of 5 stars MacDonald has Landed
A well written and entertaining book that was inspired by the true Canadian life of Stephen Truscott. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2006 by Dan Richardson
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent...except for the last 150 pages
I would give this book 5 stars except the last chunk is significantly weaker than the vast majority of this lengthy novel... Read more
Published on June 9 2006 by April
3.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing Book . . . . . . .
I have just finished this book and I am a bit stunned. Like the other reviewers, I found the last part of this book not as well done as the first part. Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2005 by Raeanna Scharft
5.0 out of 5 stars Great achievement in writing
Ms. McDonald has written quite the complex psychological story about the precursors and aftermath of tragedy. We are transported to a time where innocence and secrecy prevailed. Read more
Published on Aug. 19 2005 by Dan Beaudette
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
"The Way the Crow Flies" is one of the best books I have read this year-- I work (toil is more like it) in a bookstore, so I get to read a great many things-- mostly crap, to be... Read more
Published on June 20 2005 by B. Boethius
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