Sunday, March 01, 2009

Review of Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

I couldn't put this book down until I finished @ 3:30 a.m. It's been a while since I have done that but I'd have to say Crow Lake was worth it.

The narrator, Kate, is a 27 year old biologist with a very successful career. But that career does not fully satisfy her because she has loose ends to tidy up with her siblings. It's something that she would rather postpone indefinitely, but circumstances force her to sort through the emotional baggage. Her story builds to a satisfactory conclusion and she is able to at least begin to bridge the emotional gaps between herself and her loved ones.

When she was 7, Kate's parents both died in a car accident. Her two older brothers, still teens themselves, take on the responsibility of raising Kate and her baby sister. Engaged in rebuilding their family life, the latent personality traits of each family member comes to the surface. Their struggles are shared as a family unit, but are at the same time personal battles that shape their futures forever.

Intertwined as a subplot is the extremely tragic tale of a neighboring family whose lives intersect with those of Kate and her siblings. At first we see these people only from a distance, but layers of their story unfold and become the shared history of both families together.

Especially interesting to me is that Mary Lawson explores the way that family members "harden" their perceptions of one another. As adults we tend to forget that our siblings have added dimensions to their personalities on beyond those we shared in the foundational stages of our lives. At some point it can only be healthy to shatter the old lens and take a fresh look at siblings as they are in the present.

The setting of this novel was so well drawn. It took place in the Lake Country of Ontario and was viewed through the eyes of the budding biologist, Kate. The descriptions of the lake and the insects and the seasons were lush and verdant.

A great novel, recommended by U Krakovianki.

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews.

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