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Crow Lake Paperback – Mar 18 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada; First Thus edition (March 18 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676974805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676974805
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

2002 Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award Winner: 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

From Publishers Weekly

Four children living in northern Ontario struggle to stay together after their parents die in an auto accident in Lawson's fascinating debut, a compelling and lovely study of sibling rivalry and family dynamics in which the land literally becomes a character. Kate Morrison narrates the tale in flashback mode, starting with the fatal car accident that leaves seven-year-old Kate; her toddler sister, Bo; 19-year-old Luke; and 17-year-old Matt to fend for themselves. At first they are divided up among relatives, but the plan changes when Luke gives up his teaching college scholarship to get a job and try to keep them together. The fractured family struggles mightily against the grinding rural poverty of Crow Lake, and the brothers conduct a fierce battle of wills to control their fate, until they both finally land jobs and the family gets some assistance from a neighbor. Unfortunately, that assistance can't overcome the deranged rage of a neighboring farmer, Cyrus Pye, and when Matt becomes involved with Pye's daughter, Maria, a tragic incident robs the brilliant young man of a chance to pursue a career as a naturalist. Kate goes on to become a zoologist at a Toronto college and marry a fellow academic, but her frustration with her brother's fate renders her unable to return to Crow Lake to visit him until the pivotal climax. Lawson delivers a potent combination of powerful character writing and gorgeous description of the land. Her sense of pace and timing is impeccable throughout, and she uses dangerous winter weather brilliantly to increase the tension as the family battles to survive. This is a vibrant, resonant novel by a talented writer whose lyrical, evocative writing invites comparisons to Rick Bass and Richard Ford. (Mar.)Forecast: The combination of orphan protagonists and effortless prose makes this an irresistible first effort. Foreign rights have already been sold in nine countries, and similar enthusiasm should be expected in the U.S.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Mary Lawson's debut novel is an astounding accomplishment.
Crow Lake is the triumphant story of a family that is devastated by the loss of both parents in a tragic accident, but held together by love and sacrifice. The characters are wonderfully defined. The different aspects to their characters are polished like river worn stones, displaying a strength and natural beauty viewed only by those that take the time to really look. Mary Lawson takes life in a small farm village and pieces it carefully together crafting this beautiful story that centers on the life of a young woman learning that what she believes to be important in life does not necessarily hold true for her siblings. It explores the sacrifices made in love and the strength of character that evolves. It is an emotional coming of age story that pulls at your heart and opens your eyes to the happiness and joy people find in their lives in unexpected places.
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Format: Hardcover
Mary Lawson's Crow Lake is a wonderful novel, a work that will blow away all expectations of what it really is all about. The novel, which is narrated by Kate, a scientist in her late twenties, begins with the death of both of Kate's parents in a car accident, an accident which leaves Kate and her three siblings orphans. I know what you are thinking--sounds like Oprah, sounds predictable, we see where this is going. Well, it's none of those things and it will take you some place else. Lawson delves into the depths of family relationships, of familial expectations and love. One of the things that makes this book different is Kate's narrative style. We follow the story of what happened after her parents were killed, as that story somehow collides with her present story. She has been invited back to Crow Lake, doesn't know if she can handle it, doesn't know if she should take her current boyfriend. Her current predicaments are all caused by what happened to her family so many years ago and it's fascinating and thought-provoking. Mary Lawson has given us a terrific novel, an engaging read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Crow Lake was a book everyone was talking about so finally I got it and read it, and I wished I had not waited so long. This is a beautifully written book about family, loss, and love. The heartbreaking story of four children left on their own after their parents die is interwoven with the reminiscences of the older daughter, Kate, after she has grown up, moved from her Northern Ontario home, and become a professor.
Far from wanting to "slap" the protagonist for her emotional coldness (as one reviewer suggests), I could really empathize with how the grief and lost dreams of Kate's past have affected her and how long it takes for her to make peace with things her brothers have dealt with long ago. Lawson understands that life crises actually do hurt and traumatize people--yet they can still heal and find peace even if their childhood ideals are not realized, and even if that resolution takes time.
I found this book quite inspiring and written with real grace and simplicity.
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Format: Hardcover
A Literary novel emerging from a first-time writer is an event to cherish. Mary Lawson is destined to make a splash with her excellent grasp of novel craftsmanship in this, her first attempt at casting her line over the water.
There is fine characterization:
'Mrs. Stanovitch arrived at least twice a week, heaving her bulk out from behind the steering wheel of her husband?s battered truck and puffing up the steps to the front door with two loaves of bread balancing on the top of a bushel basket of corn, or a leg of pork tucked under one arm, and a sack of potatoes under the other.'
Drama too:
'They were outside still, and she was still sobbing with terror. He was holding her, helplessly, helplessness in every line of her body.'
Twenty-six year-old Kate Morrison narrates the story of a rural Ontario, Canada family whose past saturates their present. It would seem that old family sins rise again in the following generation. Even older brainy brother Matt, whom Kate adores, hides secrets. When she finds them out, she meets them with resentment, and her hero worshipping of Matt evaporates. Life will never be the same.
Other characters stand out: Aunt Annie with her wobbling chin, the handsome Pye brothers: This is a novel of depth, it is intoxicating and altogether overwhelming.
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Format: Paperback
Ahhhh what can I say... a book this smooth, simple, real and a narrator that makes you feel like you are her..herself. What more can you ask for ?? This book made me laugh , made me cry and made me mad and made me wonder. Although I did want a little more from the end (like a real understanding between Matt and Kate) I did enjoy this book thoroughly and can only suggest for those of you seesawing on the brink of whether to get it or not... GET it! You won't regret it. You think of it days, weeks and months after you have read it. I read it in two days and I have small kids! Consider that a feat! Seriously though... 5 stars wasn't enough for me... It deserves more. Great great novel..
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Format: Paperback
Crow Lake is a study of family dynamics in a small town in Northern Ontario. After their parents are killed in a car accident, four siblings must learn to cope with their small town enviornment and with each other.
The book examines the plight of a family and what happens when tragedy strikes. Each sibling deals with their grief after the death of their parents and in the process they learn about themselves. The book's main theme is that our history shapes us into who we become as adults. It also tells us that not everything in life works out perfectly as planned and that we must cope with disappointments in life and move forward. For it is when we move forward that we learn that we are forever connected to our past. It also tells us that we must not dwell on the past, otherwise our relationships get stuck there and do not move forward in a healthy way. We must live and let live and realize that other people's choices in life, may not be our own and we need to accept that. More than anything else this book is a story of survival against all odds and how important our relationships are with our family.

Well the book is well-written and a good story, it is not the best book I have ever read. Although the interpersonal relationships are examined well between the siblings, it is not a great or brilliant study of these relationships. There is just something missing that prevents the book from being great rather than good.
Also, the ending is a little disappointing as I feel it could have had a greater impact by summing up the four siblings emotional bonds to one another. However the author chose to be more subtle in the book's ending.
All in all though, a good read.
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