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OK – this is a work of fiction, involving a love story, set in a remote part of Canada, in the 1930’s.
What’s it about? - The story is about two brothers, Arthur and Jake. Yes, there is sibling rivalry, love and lust, and an extremely well constructed story that spans their lifetime. And yes, there is a major event on the bridge – but you need to read the book!
What can you say about the story telling? – This was a beautiful book. Mary Lawson has a gentle and almost poetic style of writing. I was instantly drawn into the story and found the book hard to put down. The descriptions of life on the farm, and harsh conditions the farmers have to endure, were very vivid. Arthur and Jake were different in every aspect – physically, mentally and in terms of their personality. I was a bit afraid of what Jake would do next.
I felt the Ian’s desperation, the doctor’s son, who idolised Laura, on the nearby farm. Ian had had to deal with the pain of his mother walking out on him and his father, and I felt his pain, which ran through the whole story. I thought Mary Lawson told this story perfectly. The book was a pleasure to read.
What did you think of the characterisation? – These were strong characters. Arthur dependable, a gentle giant, not gifted academically, but stoic, determined, supportive and caring. He showed himself to be capable of very deep emotion. Jake, a bright, handsome, flippant young man, who had a way with the ladies, was actually lazy and irresponsible. All the characters in the book came alive to me, and very real. I grew very fond of them and was sad to turn the last page of the book.
What was good about reading this book? – I loved the setting – rural Canada. The subject of sibling rivalry is not something I have read a lot about in the past, so it was a relatively new topic – and I found it intriguing. I found it quite an emotional story, and felt tearful towards the end of the book. It is a book which will grab your heart strings.
Some of the descriptions of life in rural Canada were quite enthralling, for example -
“The frog was head first inside the snake’s mouth, but very much alive. It was at least twice the diameter of the snake’s head and fought hard, legs thrashing, toes scrabbling for purchase, pulling backwards with all its might. He could feel the struggle through the leather upper of his shoe. His impulse was to try to rescue the frog, but he could see the absurdity of that. The frog was the snake’s dinner after all. And he had eaten beef last night.”
What didn’t you like? – Nothing!
How did reading the book make you feel? – I felt sad reading the book. There is a part of the book where the young lads from the town enlist in the Army, and so many of them are killed or seriously wounded. I felt sad for Arthur who ended up running his father’s farm, really without any choice in the matter. Arthur was a very caring, reliable man, and without hi, the farm would never have survived. Yet I could never tell if he was happy about this, or just accepted it as his lot in life. The love story is complex and can be viewed from different angles. This is no spoiler review so I can’t write more than that!, but it is a wonderful love story.
Would you recommend this book? – Yes. I think this is the epitomy of a good story, well told. I highly recommend reading this book.