03 February 2009

Crow Lake (Mary Lawson)

With the out of focus image of bare-legged young kids on the front cover I was immediately streaming Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood before I opened the book.
This was sooo much better.
Set in Northern Ontario, Crow Lake tells the story of Kate Morrison, orphaned young and left (with her baby sister) to be brought up by their two older brothers. The protegee of her brother Matt, Kate is raised with an intense fascination for pondlife.
Yah, pondlife.
But seriously, keep reading, it's good.
The story jumps between present-day Kate who is a university invertebrate biologist (*sigh*, these passages get a bit long to be honest) and past-Kate who struggles to grow up in this atypical family. Woven through the retelling is also the story of the Pyes, the family next door whose unfortunate genetic disposition for passing on the same revolting and violent character flaws from father to son for generations has an air of the fable about it, yet this too works.

Supreme sacrifice, emotional manipulation and the concrete ties of family all come together in a bittersweet yet subtle finale that packs quite a punch. Getting to the end of this book I didn't want to read it again, I just wished I had written it myself.

Rating: 8/10.

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