From Publishers Weekly
In this follow-up to her acclaimed Crow Lake
, Lawson again explores the moral quandaries of life in the Canadian North. At the story's poles are Arthur Dunn, a stolid, salt-of-the-earth farmer, and his brother, Jake, a handsome, smooth-talking snake in the grass, whose lifelong mutual resentments and betrayals culminate in a battle over the beautiful Laura, with Arthur, it seems, the unlikely winner. Observing, and eventually intervening in their saga, is Ian, a teenager who goes to work on Arthur's farm to get close to Laura, seeing in her the antithesis of the mother who abandoned his father and him. It's a standard romantic dilemma—who to choose: the goodhearted but dull provider or the seductive but unreliable rogue?—but it gains depth by being set in Lawson's epic narrative of the Northern Ontario town of Struan as it weathers Depression, war and the coming of television. It's a world of pristine landscapes and brutal winters, where beauty and harshness are inextricably intertwined, as when Ian brings home a puppy that gambols adorably about—and then playfully kills Ian's even cuter pet bunny. Lawson's evocative writing untangles her characters' confused impulses toward city and country, love and hate, good and evil. (Oct. 3)
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It's an age-old story--two brothers in love with the same woman--but in Lawson's masterful hands, the emotive tale of Arthur and Jake Dunn and the young woman who comes between them takes on a luminous originality. Set in a backwoods village in northern Canada, the story flashes back to 1930 to establish the tenacity of the Dunn brothers' relationship, and leaps forward to 1950, where Lawson, following her fine debut, Crow Lake
(2002), cannily introduces a fourth element to the standard love triangle. Young Ian Christopherson, son of the town's only doctor, takes a summer job working on Arthur's farm, not because he craves the grueling labor but simply to be closer to Dunn's wife, Laura. When Jake resurfaces after more than a decade's absence, Ian interprets Laura's changed behavior in ways that will have devastating consequences. Lawson's melancholy saga of misspent youth, misplaced passion, and mistaken assumptions evinces both an enchanting delicacy and provocative vitality, and delivers an unerring sensitivity to place and time, people and passions. Carol HaggasCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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