Posts Tagged ‘siblings’

Crow Lake / Mary Lawson

A friend recommended this novel to me, and I’m grateful for the introduction. Mary Lawson is a Canadian author and this book, published in 2002, was her first. Set in the wilderness of northern Ontario, it captures both the hardship and beauty to be found in a remote farming community. At center stage is the Morrison family; its four children orphaned when their parents are killed in a traffic accident. The story tells of the decision of the two sons, Luke (age 18) and Matt (age 17), to sacrifice their own dreams in order to keep the family intact. Their sisters are Kate, ten years younger than her brothers, and Bo, just two at the time of the parents’ deaths. Kate relates the story from her later perspective as an adult, working as a zoologist, who feels both guilt and anger that her highly intelligent brother Matt gave up his education for her sake. She is the only one of the family who has managed to get a university education and move to a larger city. Lawson does a marvelous job of capturing the awe and harshness of Crow Lake’s landscape. She also shows the necessary interconnectedness of its inhabitants in such a remote outpost. The story is slowly spun out and perfectly pieced together. I was quickly captivated by the tale and its setting. It is a study of family dynamics, sibling rivalry, and the ties that bind. Heartfelt and conveying deep emotions, it presents a picture of the Morrison’s ability to rise above loss and regret, and succeed despite having to make compromises. It is a terrific debut and I’m eager to check out the two other novels that Lawson has published since.