Mary Lawson drew comparisons to Ian McEwan (Toronto Star), Rick Bass and Richard Ford (Publishers Weekly) for her novel Crow Lake, which Kirkus Reviews called "almost Proustian in its sense of loss and regret". Her latest, The Other Side of the Bridge, was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2006. The library's morning book club will discuss Crow Lake on Friday, February 1 from 10:30 am until about noon if you would like to join us. Even if you're not in the book club, I highly recommend you read Crow Lake.
Crow Lake is the story of two tragedies in the childhood of Kate Morrison, who grew up with her brothers and sister in an isolated farming town in northern Ontario, where the dirt road led only one way (south). Kate tells the story twenty years later, once she realizes she can no longer avoid a confrontation between her past and present lives. This how the New York Times Book Review succinctly described Crow Lake when it named it a Notable Book of 2002:
This ambitious first novel combines two standard motifs -- sudden orphanhood and rescue by an inspiring schoolteacher -- in an exploration of class and sibling rivalry, ennui and persistence, especially in the character of Kate Morrison, who rises against tall odds to an academic career she actually has little heart for.
Discussion questions can be found here.
This has little to do with Crow Lake, but as someone who read all of L.M. Montgomery's novels growing up, I have to mention that Mary Lawson is a distant relative of the Anne of Green Gables author. And Great-Grandmother Morrison was inspired by Mary Lawson's great-grandmother, who really did fix a book rest to her spinning wheel.