May 3, 2009

The Other Side of the Bridge - Mary Lawson

I read Mary Lawson's first book, Crow Lake, when I was living in Africa, and I quite enjoyed it, so I was pleased to see her second novel, The Other Side of the Bridge" when it came out a couple of years ago.  It has taken me a while, but I'm glad that I finally had a chance to read it.

Like Crow Lake, it is set in northern Ontario farm country (but a generation earlier), and many themes and plot devices are similar between the two books - the death of parents; an unplanned pregnancy resulting in an unplanned marriage; the dynamics of a small town; the dynamics of family units.

And like some of the other books that I have read recently (Through Black Spruce and Three Day Road come to mind), it is written as two separate stories, alternating chapters, that come together in the end to form one story.  Arthur and Jake are brothers growing up in the 1930s and 1940s, and to put it mildly, there are "issues".  Ian is a boy finishing high school in the late 1950s who gets a job on Arthur's farm to help pay his way through university.  It is essentially the story of the two brothers, but it is interesting to have half of the story told by an outsider who is unaware of the history between the two.

Well written, an interesting and engaging plot - what more could one ask for in a book!

No comments: