Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The Other Side of the Bridge
The opening line of a Garth Brooks song, "Blame it all on my roots I showed up in boots..." pretty much sums up my reading background. Farm raised, I connect to novels where terrain and toil are as critical to the story as character and plot, and author Mary Lawson delivers.
Arthur Dunn toils on the northern Canada land where he was raised. Like his father before him, he is pragmatic, solid and rooted in the ground. Never believing his good fortune, he marries a girl with whom he "fell in love so hard that he felt bruised all over for a week." Unlike Arthur, his younger brother Jake is reckless and bored, taking risks to relieve the monotony until he takes one that almost ends his young life and leaves both brothers scarred.
Rather than a straight narrative, it weaves through their boyhood years during the Depression and World War II (when the community suffers through young men leaving for war and returning only as letters from the Canadian Government) and the 1950s as the town doctor's son enters their lives and unwittingly contributes to a long avoided confrontation.
Lawson was raised on Canadian farmland and she unassumingly and gently guides her readers in both this novel and her debut Crow Lake.
Find Mary Lawson at your Library