Crow Lake

Crow Lake

by Mary Lawson
4.3 52

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Overview

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Mary Lawson's debut novel is a shimmering tale of love, death and redemption set in a rural northern community where time has stood still. Tragic, funny and unforgettable, this deceptively simple masterpiece about the perils of hero worship leapt to the top of the bestseller lists only days after being released in Canada and earned glowing reviews in The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, to name a few. It will be published in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.

Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo Morrison are born in an Ontario farming community of only a few families, so isolated that “the road led only south.” There is little work, marriage choices are few, and the winter cold seeps into the bones of all who dare to live there. In the Morrisons’ hard-working, Presbyterian house, the Eleventh Commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Emote.” But as descendants of a great-grandmother who “fixed a book rest to her spinning wheel so that she could read while she was spinning,” the Morrison children have some hope of getting off the land through the blessings of education. Luke, the eldest, is accepted at teachers college – despite having struggle mightily through school – but before he can enroll, the Morrison parents are killed in a collision with a logging truck. He gives up his place to stay home and raise his younger sisters -- seven-year-old Kate, and Bo, still a baby.

In this family bound together by loss, the closest relationship is that between Kate and her older brother Matt, who love to wander off to the ponds together and lie on the bank, noses to the water. Matt teaches his little sister to watch “damselflies performing their delicate iridescent dances,” to understand how water beetles “carry down an air bubble with them when they submerge.” The life in the pond is one that seems to go on forever, in contrast to the abbreviated lives of the Morrison parents. Matt becomes Kate’s hero and her guide, as his passionate interest in the natural world sparks an equal passion in Kate.

Matt, a true scholar, is expected to fulfill the family dream by becoming the first Morrison to earn a university degree. But a dramatic event changes his course, and he ends up a farmer; so it is Kate who eventually earns the doctorate and university teaching position. She is never able to reconcile her success with what she considers the tragedy of Matt’s failure, and she feels a terrible guilt over the sacrifices made for her. Now a successful biologist in her twenties, she nervously returns home with her partner, a microbiologist from an academic family, to celebrate Matt’s son’s birthday. Amid the clash of cultures, Kate takes us in and out of her troubled childhood memories. Accustomed to dissecting organisms under a microscope, she must now analyze her own emotional life. She is still in turmoil over the events of one fateful year when the tragedy of another local family spilled over into her own. There are things she cannot understand or forgive.

In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings, Lawson ratchets up the tension, her narrative flowing with consummate control in ever-increasing circles, overturning one’s expectations to the end. Compared by Publishers Weekly to Richard Ford for her lyrical, evocative writing, Lawson combines deeply drawn characters, beautiful writing and a powerful description of the land.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440334361
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/19/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 92,674
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Mary Lawson was born and brought up in a farming community in Ontario. After graduating from McGill University she went to England for a holiday and stayed on; she lives there still, with her husband and sons, though she returns to Canada every year.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Crow Lake 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was 15 below zero and windy outside my house as I sat reading Crow Lake,, and yet Mary Lawson had me laying on my belly, peering into a pond teeming with tadpoles and waterbugs. It was a beautiful story of survival and love of family. I will be first in line when her next book hits the shelves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the most enjoyable books I have ever read! It was a beautiful, and touching, story about how we view the world and our loved ones in it and how they view themselves. A real thought provoking journey...I fell in love with the characters, felt I knew them and wanted to continue to be a part of their lives. Beautifully written, the descriptions make you feel you are there....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! I just could not put it down! I wanted to know more about what happened with Kate and Daniel, her family, etc when I was finished. Definitely a great read for anyone!
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
It is a tender tale which begins with the memories of a seven year child after her family suffers a devastating loss and progresses over the next twenty years. We watch as problems, arise and are resolved, often with unintended consequences. It is a tale about overcoming disaster, about not letting anything stand in your way if you want it enough. Poverty, tragedy, loss, all of these, in and of themselves, are not deterrents to success but they often breed ignorance and in some instances even violence. Education is the key to moving forward but love, dedication and responsibility trump all else and provide the courage necessary to surmount all of the obstacles placed before them on life's journey. It is a book about the effect that just one decision, one mistake of judgment, can have on the rest of your life. It is about accepting what has been handed to you and finding peace within those boundaries. It is about discovering truths about yourself. It is about making lemonade when life hands you lemons. It is about rebuilding and repairing relationships and emotional wounds. It is simply, about life, warts and all.
NancyK27 More than 1 year ago
This story is about a family that has to face a terrible tragedy and how much 2 brothers are willing to sacrifice for their sisters. I was very touched by the relationships and the struggles between the siblings and how much they loved each other. The writing flowed nicely and I was interested in the characters and their relationships both as children and adults. This was one of the best books I've read in a long time and am looking forward to reading her newest book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a pleasure to read! It was such a joy I just want to know what happened next....made me think of my own family and the places we 'occupy' and I loved the beautiful descriptions....felt like I was there myself!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best I've read in recent 'history'. Enjoyed it so much I've chosen it for my upcoming Book Club meeting. Can't wait for her next book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I look to many of BN reviews to discover new books, that is how I came to this one and it was such a treat. I had to reread many sentences because they sounded so lyrical and moving. The author was brillant in her writing style, can't wait for more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my all-time favorite book. The prose is so beautifully written you can't put it down. Lawson has a style of writing that catches your attention from the first sentence. I love this book and can't wait for her next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The age old struggle between what could've been and what is, and between those who move on and those who can't let go. A beautuifully written story of family,a series of bad decisions and a future nobody planned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I too really enjoyed this book, was sad to see it end, and felt connected to the characters. The love and adoration Kate had for Matt was touching. I expected the family's 'crisis' to be more dramatic, there was tremendous build-up to how the Morrison's 'forever became connected to the Pye family.' Overall, however, I really enjoyed it. The author did a great job capturing the characters' personalities well, especially Bo who I found to be very funny. I couldn't put this book down and would recommend it to anyone who loves reading about the drama within a family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Crow Lake is an excellent choice for readers who love an indepth look into life's struggles and interpersonal relationships. Unique and memorable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I entered the world of Morrisons and Pyes, I couldn't leave until the end. I just finished it and still feel as if I'm a part of their world. Amidst the pain and tribulation there was beauty and love, but Kate just couldn't see it and I feel as if her blindness and resentment broke my heart along with Matt's. I almost feel as if Lawson wrote it specifically to be cheerless because I can't imagine a situation so sad. A phenominal book but probably the saddest I've read in a long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I literally felt bereft when this book ended and I had to say goodbye to the characters. This book is moving, beautifully written and captures the essence of family. I loved this book so much-I can't stop thinking about the characters and events.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All I can say is that I'm sorry I read it as quickly as I did. An important reminder that one person's values and disappointments are not the same as anothers. As well as a really good read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, kept my attention all the way through. Wonderful
Anonymous 30 days ago
Enjoyed it since I am from Toronto and reading familiar names brought me back. Wanted it to continue a little while longer to stay with the characters, good story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it from the first sentence.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book. I read Crow Lake because of the reviews and was not disappointed. This author is a great story teller------
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Crow Lake is a book that will change the way you look at family, and life in general. The Morrison family is broken, gritty, but loyal to a fault. The challenges faced by this family over the years are heart rending, overwhelming, yet credible. The characters in the community are authentic, pragmatic, and represent humanity at its basic level. They rise to the occasion consistently, practicing their generosity as a way of life. There is depth to personalities that transcends the norm. I'm still reeling from this incredibly well-written novel. The undercurrents that are evident throughout the book become the pinnacles that bring the story to a powerful ending. I highly recommend this earthy, poignant, and dynamic book.
Esquite More than 1 year ago
Mary Lawson’s “Crow Lake" is a book bigger than itself.  Reading it provided me with two stunning and brilliant self-revelatory moments. I never thought of the absence of my parents in quite such a way as provided by a single sentence of hers , and I am compelled to consider my long-settled perceptions of others and of the nature of my relationships with them; to think about how correct and appropriate, or how distorted and debilitating, my views may be.  I’ve ordered her two presently extant other books with pleasant anticipation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A slow moving story, one that I could not put down. Great read!
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