9 journalers for this copy...
"This book has the richness of times remembered, the agreeable melancholy of nostalgia and a deft humour" Mail on Sunday
"....Lawson's evocative storytelling.....knows just how to draw the reader on....." Spectator
This book looks interesting, I just went to Hay on Wye so it'll be MONTHS before I read it - hope that's OK!
A wonderful choice. I don't know if I'll end up keeping it forever, as I do try to pass on BC books when I can bear to - but I am going to offer it in my next set of bookrings (when some more of the current ones come back home!)
Thank you bookgirrl for an excellent choice!
Usual rules apply...
Make a journal entry when you receive the book
Contact the next reader for their address when you are almost done
Post a review when you've read the book - please try to send it on within a month of receipt if you can
Make a journal entry or controlled release notes when you send the book on
Twynnie UK (anywhere)
Pammykn US-Florida (Overseas surface)
Mrsgaskell Canada (anywhere)
Cross-Patch UK (UK/EU)
Purplerosebud UK (UK) <==== asked to be skipped
AnglersRest UK (UK) <--- it's here
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Posting to Twynnie on Tuesday.
This was posted this mornig to Pammykn in Florida, I hope it arrives safely!
Thanks for sharing LyzzyBee! I sent the book off to Cross-Patch earlier today (airmail since it wasn’t much more than surface in this case.)
I have the address for AnglersRest and shall post it tomorrow. Happy reading indeed.
Set in an isolated farming district in Canada, Kate lives with her baby sister,two older brothers and their parents. Upon hearing the news that their eldest son has been accepted to train as a teacher they venture into town to purchase a suitcase. They have a car accident and suddenly they are gone leaving four stunned children.
Written from Kate perspective, about her relationship with her siblings and how they cope and the sacrifices they make to ensure they stay together and manage to survive. This was an emotional story, yet written in such a style that there was no real emotion displayed by the narrator.
There were several loose ends, and I would like to have had a couple more chapters whilst the author developed the relationship between Matt and Kate, once Kate discovers that her relationship with her brother has become the way it has.
Nevertheless, it was a pager turner, and I read this as a bedtime read over the last two nights.
Author Uncovers a Remote Possibility:
Lawson Re-invents Rural Literature for a New Century
Unlike most authors, Mary Lawson can tell you precisely how she came to write fiction. In her thirties, she read a famous J. D. Salinger story, For Esme - with Love and Squalor. "That was the trigger," she said when I called her recently at her home in England to ask her about her brilliant career. "I thought, 'How I would like to be able to do something like that !' "
Many years later, in 2002, her first novel, Crow Lake, enchanted readers and reviewers in several countries. Last fall, her second, The Other Side of the Bridge, attracted similar admiration and won a place on the Man Booker long list. Both are set in Northern Ontario villages so small that nearby New Liskeard (pop. 5,112) looks like a metropolis.
For a Lawson admirer, the Salinger story is revealing. The two children who dominate its first scene are orphans and orphans are a major Lawson concern. Crow Lake begins with four children orphaned by an accident. The Other Side of the Bridge has two major characters who lose parents suddenly. And, like Salinger, Lawson can tell a heart-breaking tale without sentimentality, by entwining it with humour and carefully observed detail.
I assumed she had goiwn up, like her character, in the north. But she spent her chidlhood and adolescence in Blackwell, a south-western Ontario village that's now a suburb of Sarnia, where her father worked as a research chemist. (NOTE: Sarnia is a major oil refining city). She went to McGill, studied psychology and moved to England in 1968 to take a job as an industrial psychologist. She married Richard Lawson, a fellow psychologist, and settled down. Boys play larger roles than girls in her books, perhaps because both of her children are males (now in their thirties) and because she had older brothers when she was little.
After finding her vocation, she wrote short fiction for women's magazines, then attempted a novel. She planned to spend two years on it, spent five instead and decided it was no good.
She wrote more stories to rebuild her confidence, and one turned out to be about farming in Canada. That led her to begin what turned into Crow Lake. It took five years to write and three more to find a publisher.
She wanted to convey the claustrophobic intensity that people experience in a small town but she knew it would no longer be plausible in somewhere like Blackwell. Good roads have made it impossible to consider that kind of place remote. So she moved her characters up north, where isolation seems more credible.
Having only recently caught up with her work, I read both books within a couple of weeks, a method that emphasizes their similarities. In both, men marry women who are already pregnant. Both echo the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau through boys troubled by the cleverness of younger brothers.
Lawson has an exceptional talent for foreshadowing. She hints cleverly at momentous events to come, always in a way that enlarges her story. She shifts back and forth in time with remarkable skill; readers won't be surprised to learn she places Alice Munro first among living writers.
One book has a murder and the other, a near-murder, and in Crow Lake there's a family that passes anger and violence on from generation to generation. But Lawson devotes uncommon attention to the subject of decency. Typically, her characters display goodness through dedication to their craft. The Other Side of the Bridge treats farm work with a respect it's seldom granted in current literature. Lawson wants us to know that a good farmer, aside from having the intuition that tells him what will grow and when it will grow, needs also to be a mechanic, a carpenter, a bookkeeper and something of a veterinarian. He needs great patience - and an infinite capacity for hard work. She clearly considers it unjust that her character, Arthur Dunn, exhibits all these qualities but is nevertheless considered a dullard because he failed in high school.
Book-learning, by tradition the escape route from small-town life, burdens some Lawson characters and distorts their view of each other. Kate, the narrator in Crow Lake, considers her clever brother Matt a failure beacuse he's a farmer instad of a professor of zoology like her. Typically, Lawson animates this family tension through the way Kate and Matt see the non-human world. When Kate is a child and Matt an adolescent, they spend hours together, staring into the dark water of a pond, studying frogs, catfish, newts and especially the water striders, predatory insects that walk on water, held up by the surface tension.
Matt's lessons in how to see nature make Kate's career in science possible. Many years later, when he inquires about her research, she says she's studying the effects of detergents and pesticides on surface insects, like the water striders. But she feels there's something wrong about her explaining it to Matt, the one who should be doing it. He may be a happy farmer, but she knows, or thinks she knows, that he should be a scholar.
She considers his life tragic. Fortunatately her boyfriend (another scholar) tells her she's dead wrong. Matt's career may be a disappointment, but hardly a tragedy. "The tragedy is that you think it's so important you're letting it destroy the relationship the two of you had." Lawson handles family and small-town dramas with such intensity and skill that issues like feel like crises.
The Other Side of the Bridge places itself within Canadian history. War invades the town of Struan, several young men die at Dieppe and one comes home so damaged that he kills himself. German prisoners of war are recruited to help out on the farms. Lawson begins each chapter with actual headlines from the Tamiskaming Speaker, setting their banality ("Speckled Trout Season Starts on Saturday") against the passion and violence beneath the town's surface.
Early on, I imagined Lawson had found a new way to deal with the traditional novel of farm life. But as I moved deeper into her work I decided something larger was happening here. Mary Lawson, working with her memories and her exquisite sense of form, has done nothing less than re-invent the rural Canadian novel to fit her needs and the 21st century. (National Post, firstname.lastname@example.org)
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
To add insult to injury I remember that I really enjoyed this book at the time, but can't remember anything about it now. (sigh)
Hope it is found by someone with some grey matter still in tact.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
This book has such a long history and is so well travelled that I really hope you will become a part of its journey.
I am releasing this book as part of my 40 before 40 birthday/bookcrossing release challenge.
I hope you find it & enjoy it & have a chuckle at the weirdness that is bookcrossing :-)
CAUGHT IN LONDON UK
New copy up for grabs if anyone is interested.
I must read another Lawson book soon....