Crow Lake

Crow Lake

Author: Mary Lawson

Published: 2002

Genre: Fiction

About Crow Lake: A young woman tries to come to terms with her past.

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Review of Crow Lake

As a child, Kate Morrison lived in Northern Ontario with her parents, her older brothers, 19-year-old Luke and 17-year-old Matt, and her baby sister, Bo. When Kate was seven, tragedy changed all of their lives forever.

There's no end to how far back you can go, of course, when you're trying to figure out where something started. The search can take you back to Adam and beyond. But for our family there was an event that summer catastrophic enough to be the start of practically anything. It took place on a hot, still Saturday in July when I was seven years old, and brought normal family life to an end; even now, almost twenty years later, I find it hard to get any sort of perspective on it.

...from pages 7-8

I didn't know anything about this book when I started reading it, other than everyone said it was very good. They were right. It's a beautifully written, fairly quiet book with believable characters and a tragic story.

I liked young Kate much more than adult Kate. The older version frustrated me by her refusal to see her brother as a normal, and therefore flawed, human being. I liked all versions of Matt, I admired Luke, and Bo provided some much needed, although minimal, humour to the family. The character development in general, even of young Bo, was extremely well done.

The sense of place was excellent (Northern Ontario) but I didn't have a very good sense of the time period. I'm still not sure exactly when it was set but maybe in the larger scope of the book it wasn't all that important.

Lawson is very good at teasers, dropping just enough hints of upcoming events that it was nearly impossible to put the book down. I rarely read an author's works back to back, preferring to take a break between, but I liked this one so much that I immediately read her second book, The Other Side of the Bridge. I'm looking forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.

Reviewed by Lynn Bornath, February 2008.

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More Reviews

‘The Girl She Left Behind.’ Janet Burroway, New York Times, 24 March 2002.
“...the assurance with which Mary Lawson handles both reflection and violence makes her a writer to read and to watch.”
Irene D'Souza, Herizons, 2002
“Discriminating readers who enjoy an intellectual challenge will find this riveting book a particular pleasure.”
‘In Praise of Late Bloomers.’ Margaret Gunning, January Magazine, June 2002
“...Lawson imbues her writing with such liquid depths that it becomes a delicate prose-poem on the theme of relationship.”
Kathy Weissman,
“...don't think that this is one of those heartwarming three-hankie sagas.”
Vicki Carver, Highland County District Library
“...written in a lyrical style which pulls the reader into the story.”
Luan Gaines, Curled Up With a Good Book, 2003
“Lawson's pure and arresting prose guides the reader through emotional minefields, with the promise of comfort, acceptance and unconditional forgiveness.”
John Mutford, The Book Mine Set, 8 March 2007
“Lots of books use foreshadowing it's true, but Lawson seems to wield it like a sadistic weapon.”
Joy, Thoughts of Joy, 21 April 2007
“Mary Lawson has a great gift in storytelling.”
Keris Stainton, Trashionista, 19 October 2007
“I know the characters and events will stay with me for a long time.”
Blondie Reads, 6 January 2008
“A slow burn, but—as a result—all the more able to affect readers.”
Ramya, Ramya's Bookshelf, 9 March 2008
“This is truly an amazing book and you should pick it up if you ever get a chance...”
Stephanie, Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic, 5 July 2008
“It is truly a beautiful story, at times so heartbreaking, it makes you ache.”
raidergirl3, an adventure in reading, 13 July 2008
“Something in this book just broke my heart.”
Kerry Riley, Kerry On Can Lit, 17 October 2010
“Lawson's characterizations are one of the great delights of this book.”


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Added 04 February 2008.
Updated 24 August 2013.