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Road Ends (2013)

door Mary Lawson

LedenBesprekingenPopulariteitGemiddelde beoordelingAanhalingen
2181891,220 (4.17)41
"From "a talented writer whose lyrical, evocative writing invites comparisons to Rick Bass and Richard Ford" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) comes a deftly woven novel that examines the layered makeup of a family: the affections and resentments, obligations and sacrifices"--"Set in a backwoods village in northern Canada, this is the story of a young woman who leaves her dysfunctional, male-dominated family to make a new life in London. With her dreamy mother abed upstairs, and her father passive in a house full of rambunctious, out of control male children from the age of 4-14, Megan has become the defacto mother, housekeeper, nurse, and lynchpin of her household. Wholly dependable, intelligent, lovely, they depend on her completely-- until one day she has had enough. She packs her bags and leaves for London knowing virtually no one. As she did in her previous two books, Mary Lawson flawlessly weaves the narration of Megan's life and love with the consequences of her departure at home, particularly for her youngest brother Adam, age 4, who has retreated into himself out of insecurity and neglect. Lawson is particularly fine in calibrating the emotional core of her characters, and the choice Megan must make, which, while poignant, in Lawson's hands is also an affirmation of what is, finally, universally important"--… (meer)

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1-5 van 18 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
This one is a little more of a challenge to review. Lawson continues to employ her winning story-telling style, with this story set in the same fictional town of Struan as her previous stand alone novel, [The Other Side of the Bridge]. Focusing on the Cartright family, Lawson sweeps the reader through the early 1900's Ontario silver rush era to the swing scene of 1960's London, England. She continues to create compelling characters and plot lines. It is the whole London, England part of the story that just seemed odd to me, probably because I feel that Lawson could have sent Megan anywhere in Canada and still retain the effect of Megan being completely removed from the family events occurring in Struan, but that is just my personal bugaboo about this one. The parts of the story focused on Struan and the Cartwright family are classic Lawson: moral quandaries continue to abound but this time, Lawson gives readers a family literally imploding within it self, through a combination of tragic events, medical realities and overwhelming inertia of certain family members. That alone made riveting reading, but still doesn't make up for the more blase "Megan in London" parts of the story.

Overall, Lawson continues to astonish me with her presentation of a family unraveling against a harsh, unforgiving Northern Ontario backdrop. Sadly, I have reached the end of the Mary Lawson books currently published and can only hope that she is writing another novel. ( )
  lkernagh | Oct 14, 2018 |
First I have to say that I loved [b:Crow Lake|8646|Crow Lake|Mary Lawson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388187730s/8646.jpg|2744160] and [b:The Other Side of the Bridge|129783|The Other Side of the Bridge|Mary Lawson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1171989412s/129783.jpg|25378] intensely, so I was so excited to see Roads Ends on the shelf in my New Jersey Library. However, as I started reading this book I became very frustrated - I loved the writing, the wonderful descriptions, but I was really disliking the characters and their decisions....

Lawson presents us with a severely dysfunctional family, and I just wanted to slap them all, shut the book and walk away. Of course I did not, I was completely hooked, and as I kept reading Lawson unraveled the stories behind the inertia in which this family is mired. The book takes place from 1966-1969, with flashbacks going further back in time. There are three main characters and we hear from them in alternating chapters, and it all works very well. The time frame and the setting are important as the family would probably have other coping mechanisms available to them now, and certainly in a big city. As the novel progressed I found myself totally engaged and by the final third of the story I could not put it down. I spent the last chapter hoping that there would be a note at the end mentioning a sequel, although truth be told, the ending is entirely satisfying.

My only, tiny quibble with this book is that there is a bit of time jumping that I could have done without, I would have preferred a straight linear timeline. That small, personal issue aside I loved this book and can't wait for Lawson's next novel!

p.s - For readers/lovers of Crow Lake, my GR friend Carol pointed out in her review that Luke Morrison, who appears in this novel, is from the Morrison family of [b:Crow Lake|8646|Crow Lake|Mary Lawson|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388187730s/8646.jpg|2744160] ! So nice! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
There's a lot to like about this novel. In many ways Lawson's writing reminds me of Marilyn Robinson, and compliments don't come much higher than that. I am particularly interested in the Canadian experience - how that climate and geography impact on people - and there's a lot of insight here. But much more than that, there's guilt, forgiveness, death, families, siblings, family history and the continuation of sins from generation to generation. There's mid 1960s historical interest, London, dementia, women's issues, and a whole lot more. I think many readers, like me, will be angry with Meg as she sacrifices her own life to care for her incompetent family. Part of me wanted to say this aspect detracted from the story, but as I think more about it, I realize this *is* the story. People do things that outside observers regard as foolish and inexplicable, and on a logical level the behaviour is indeed foolish . . . but life does not follow logic.This novel skillfully explores the way emotions and personal history influence our behaviour. My only criticism of the novel is that I thought Tom's incompetence in domestic matters and his detachment from his young brother's situation was perhaps a little overstated, but I guess this is Lawson's way of telling us what a powerful impact events have had on him. ( )
  oldblack | Apr 18, 2018 |
Took me a while to get into it. Almost half-way before I actually hooked into the characters. From there it goes pretty quickly. Kind of neat to encounter [b:Crow Lake|8646|Crow Lake|Mary Lawson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388187730s/8646.jpg|2744160] characters again, though it's been so long since I read that book, I don't remember much about them. Ends more abruptly than I expected, too, but the conclusion makes sense.
It was hard to read three character's stories at once. I see how knowing all the perspectives gives a better understanding of what's happening at the house and removes the reader's ability to completely blame one or the other, but just as I'd start to like Edward, the father, for example, and be interested in his story, it would end and I'd be back at Tom for a while. I wonder what it would be like to read all of Edward's chapters, then all of Tom's, then all of Meg's. A whole different experience, for sure. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Dec 3, 2017 |
I loved this book. It's a gentle, intimate portrait of a Northern Ontario family damaged by events of the past and struggling to make its way in the present. Beautiful. ( )
  AJBraithwaite | Aug 14, 2017 |
1-5 van 18 worden getoond (volgende | toon alle)
Never mind Lord of the Flies or any of the other tired traditional offerings on the English syllabus. Every Canadian student should be reading Mary Lawson novels – starting with Crow Lake and now including her newest accomplishment, Road Ends....Like all great writers — and Lawson is among the finest — she tells her story in a deceptively simple and straightforward way, but one that resonates with anyone who has ever struggled with doing the right thing by a family member despite a desperate longing to escape that burden....Lawson’s writing is clean, clear and accessible. Her descriptions are strong, and her dialogue believable. Like Alistair MacLeod, Lawson writes of bone-searing tragedies without shrouding her novels in impenetrable darkness. She leaves room for light — and hope.
 
What preoccupies Lawson is families; specifically large, sibling-rich families pockmarked by tragedy. In her writing, Lawson has always been more about craftsmanship than innovation: What she does she does so impeccably that the triumph of duty over dreams seems somehow urgent and compelling.
 
This is a very readable book, its narrative compelling, its setting richly drawn, its characters sympathetic; you want things to end well, you feel badly for almost everyone. It does read, to some degree, like a retilling of ground already well worked over. The deck is a little too predictably stacked. The ending both necessary and maddening.
 
There is great tragedy and sadness, hardship and loss, and yet what sets Lawson apart is storytelling so matter-of-fact (in the best possible way) that readers are able to feel the emotional intensity of the characters’ situations without succumbing to moroseness. There is no drudgery, even when Lawson is describing the literal drudgery of running a farm or tending house.

Admirers of Lawson’s previous novels will not be disappointed with the author’s latest effort. The same easy grace and economy of language that drew readers into those earlier stories are employed to full effect, and the setting, along with the welcome reappearance of a few familiar characters, imparts a sense of homecoming....By the time Lawson ties her three protagonists’ stories tightly together at the end of the novel, we have come to know them for their distinct voices and personalities, and are relieved by the subtle hints the author has dropped along the way to indicate a more hopeful future. Redemption appears in many guises, and these characters, despite their flaws, feel greatly deserving of any that comes their way.
 
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The road was heavily overgrown and they had to stop the car half a dozen times in order to hack down shrubs or drag fallen trees aside. (Prologue, Struan, August 1967)
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"From "a talented writer whose lyrical, evocative writing invites comparisons to Rick Bass and Richard Ford" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) comes a deftly woven novel that examines the layered makeup of a family: the affections and resentments, obligations and sacrifices"--"Set in a backwoods village in northern Canada, this is the story of a young woman who leaves her dysfunctional, male-dominated family to make a new life in London. With her dreamy mother abed upstairs, and her father passive in a house full of rambunctious, out of control male children from the age of 4-14, Megan has become the defacto mother, housekeeper, nurse, and lynchpin of her household. Wholly dependable, intelligent, lovely, they depend on her completely-- until one day she has had enough. She packs her bags and leaves for London knowing virtually no one. As she did in her previous two books, Mary Lawson flawlessly weaves the narration of Megan's life and love with the consequences of her departure at home, particularly for her youngest brother Adam, age 4, who has retreated into himself out of insecurity and neglect. Lawson is particularly fine in calibrating the emotional core of her characters, and the choice Megan must make, which, while poignant, in Lawson's hands is also an affirmation of what is, finally, universally important"--

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