Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
I stumbled upon this novel on the shelf of a cottage rental on the coast of BC, and couldn’t think of a better read for that trip: as I looked into tidal pools on the edge of Gabriola Island I thought of Kate and Matt Morrison gazing into the ponds near Crow Lake at the life within. I was immediately pulled in by the strong story, the great characters, and the gently simmering tension in this fictitious northern Ontario town. I grew up in that province and have spent quite a bit of time in the Canadian Shield, the same kind of setting as the fictitious Crow Lake. I also have a lot of farmers in my family – past and present – and the rural/urban divide, importance of family and community, but also the “breakaways” that go away to university and don’t quite fit in anymore, all rung true. As is the sense that we create narratives for the lives of the people around us that don’t always jive with their versions of themselves – that we can get locked in to a certain story that blocks us from moving forward with the people we love. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who likes CanLit and loves a great yarn.