Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Road Ends: Book Review

Front Cover

Today I am grateful for fiction.  I recently realized that reading fiction is my form of meditation.  The lying on the floor doing nothing type of meditation will just not work for me.  The only way I can completely clear my mind is by immersing myself in a good piece of literature.  I have loved losing myself in books from the time I first learned to read.

The silver lining about being sick while we were in Florida, is that I spent a whole heck of a lot of time reading.  My mother-in-law gave me this novel, Road Ends, by Mary Lawson, and I could not put it down.  I am a slow reader, but I almost finished it before we left Florida because I was enjoying it so much.

I also loved Lawson's previous novel, Crow Lake, but I liked this one even better.

I don't want to give too much away about the story, but it's about a family living in a small Northern Ontario town.  Here is a little blurb about it:

"He listened as their voices faded into the rumble of the falls. He was thinking about the lynx. The way it had looked at him, acknowledging his existence, then passing out of his life like smoke. . . It was the first thing—the only thing—that had managed, if only for a moment, to displace from his mind the image of the child. He had carried that image with him for a year now, and it had been a weight so great that sometimes he could hardly stand.
Mary Lawson’s beloved novels, Crow Lake and The Other Side of the Bridge, have delighted legions of readers around the world. The fictional, northern Ontario town of Struan, buried in the winter snows, is the vivid backdrop to her breathtaking new novel.
Roads End brings us a family unravelling in the aftermath of tragedy: Edward Cartwright, struggling to escape the legacy of a violent past; Emily, his wife, cloistered in her room with yet another new baby, increasingly unaware of events outside the bedroom door; Tom, their eldest son, twenty-five years old but home again, unable to come to terms with the death of a friend; and capable, formidable Megan, the sole daughter in a household of eight sons, who for years held the family together but has finally broken free and gone to England, to try to make a life of her own.
Roads End is Mary Lawson at her best. In this masterful, enthralling, tender novel, which ranges from the Ontario silver rush of the early 1900s to swinging London in the 1960s, she gently reveals the intricacies and anguish of family life, the push and pull of responsibility and individual desire, the way we can face tragedy, and in time, hope to start again."

The one thing that bothers me, is that it follows the theme of most Canadian literature: death, dysfunction and despair.  I don't know why Canadian writers are so obsessed with the 3 "Ds", I don't really think life in Canada is so dark.  Of course I realize there is lots of poverty, tragedy and dysfunction here...I'm a therapist, so I see it everyday!  But I don't think you have that here any more than any other industrialized country...except maybe among our native communities.  But I digress.  The point of this post was to tell you that this book is fabulous, so go out and get it right now!

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