Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)
Published: June 5, 2009
Publisher: Knopf Canada
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0307373568
ISBN - 13: 9780307373564
From the Publisher
Mary Lawson's debut novel is a shimmering tale of love, death and
redemption set in a rural northern community where time has stood
still. Tragic, funny and unforgettable, this deceptively simple
masterpiece about the perils of hero worship leapt to the top of
the bestseller lists only days after being released in Canada and
earned glowing reviews in The New York Times and
The Globe and Mail, to name a few. It will be
published in more than a dozen countries worldwide, including the
U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy and Bulgaria.
Luke, Matt, Kate and Bo Morrison are born in an Ontario farming
community of only a few families, so isolated that "the road led
only south." There is little work, marriage choices are few, and
the winter cold seeps into the bones of all who dare to live there.
In the Morrisons' hard-working, Presbyterian house, the Eleventh
Commandment is "Thou Shalt Not Emote." But as descendants of a
great-grandmother who "fixed a book rest to her spinning wheel so
that she could read while she was spinning," the Morrison children
have some hope of getting off the land through the blessings of
education. Luke, the eldest, is accepted at teachers college -
despite having struggle mightily through school - but before he can
enroll, the Morrison parents are killed in a collision with a
logging truck. He gives up his place to stay home and raise his
younger sisters -- seven-year-old Kate, and Bo, still a baby.
In this family bound together by loss, the closest relationship is
that between Kate and her older brother Matt, who love to wander
off to the ponds together and lie on the bank, noses to the water.
Matt teaches his little sister to watch "damselflies performing
their delicate iridescent dances," to understand how water beetles
"carry down an air bubble with them when they submerge." The life
in the pond is one that seems to go on forever, in contrast to the
abbreviated lives of the Morrison parents. Matt becomes Kate's hero
and her guide, as his passionate interest in the natural world
sparks an equal passion in Kate.
Matt, a true scholar, is expected to fulfill the family dream by
becoming the first Morrison to earn a university degree. But a
dramatic event changes his course, and he ends up a farmer; so it
is Kate who eventually earns the doctorate and university teaching
position. She is never able to reconcile her success with what she
considers the tragedy of Matt's failure, and she feels a terrible
guilt over the sacrifices made for her. Now a successful biologist
in her twenties, she nervously returns home with her partner, a
microbiologist from an academic family, to celebrate Matt's son's
birthday. Amid the clash of cultures, Kate takes us in and out of
her troubled childhood memories. Accustomed to dissecting organisms
under a microscope, she must now analyze her own emotional life.
She is still in turmoil over the events of one fateful year when
the tragedy of another local family spilled over into her own.
There are things she cannot understand or forgive.
In this universal drama of family love and misunderstandings,
Lawson ratchets up the tension, her narrative flowing with
consummate control in ever-increasing circles, overturning one's
expectations to the end. Compared by Publishers Weekly to
Richard Ford for her lyrical, evocative writing, Lawson combines
deeply drawn characters, beautiful writing and a powerful
description of the land.
From the Hardcover edition.