Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bonnie's book suggestion

Let's each suggest a book. This one is on my list to read for the Book around the World challenge, so I do plan to read it. It looks like a modern novel that would work for our discussion here.

The Other Side of the Bridge, a novel by Mary Lawson, was recommended by Juliette, who said, "I have, in my opinion, an excellent choice for Canada ... The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson. Gorgeously written by a native of Canada who now lives in South London, Mary Lawson thouroughly researched her setting. A fine story of the joys and sorrows of life, relationships, and shocking events. Set in the author’s native Canada this book centres on the invented town of Struan. I use the word centres deliberately. The characters are fixed on their ‘place’ and the narrative reflects time and again the impact of life and the characters’ perceptions of life beyond their town. It is not only the characters who reflect, it was myself reading and taking in their point of view that made me ponder how differently the second world war must have seemed to those living lives so very far away, in such different circumstances. Much of Mary Lawson’s prose is almost understated yet at the same time tremendously powerful. She intertwines a sense of place with her characters’ sense of belonging and a way of life that may or may not continue. When Pete and Ian sit eye to eye with a myriad of dragonflies on a ledge formed of rock three billion years old, their communing with nature is almost palpable.

"The whole story encourages the reader to question the values by which we live and the influences that are brought to bear upon us as we make what turn out to be life changing decisions. As Ian thought about Jake following his return ‘it was hard to imagine Struan or anything in it being a part of Jake. He didn’t look as if he had ever belonged’. Yet Ian envied him, was taken in by his outward countenance and thought that he was ‘someone who had all the answers’. This novel painted a real sense of place for me, place in time and the changing nature of place for us all wherever we are. Pete, who had a breadth of knowledge and understanding that Ian admired, chose to stay in that sacred place to make sure the tourists did not find all the best places to fish. This book raises questions of sustainability for caring for our ‘place’, wherever that may be and however each one of us interprets that sense of place. An excellent book that will reverberate within me for some time."

Here's what the publishers says:
The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson weaves together the stories of two families as they seek solace and redemption across two generations. Set against the backdrop of northern Ontario’s haunting landscapes, the book opens with an unforgettable image of Arthur and Jake Dunn, two brothers whose jealousies will take them beyond the edge of reason, to a deadly point of no return. The sons of a farmer, they come of age during the 1930s, when money is tight and a world war is looming. When a beautiful young woman named Laura moves into their community, she unwittingly propels their sibling rivalry to its breaking point. Years later, the local doctor’s son, Ian, takes a job at the Dunn farm. His mother has left the family, and he develops a troubling attachment to Laura. As he desperately searches for direction in his own life, he stumbles onto a secret that forever alters the course of Arthur’s. With vivid scenes and stunning twists, this is a novel rich with conversation topics.
Juliette suggested this book for the Book around the World challenge, found HERE.

Kailana's review ~ see her comment below.


Kailana said...

My review

Those are my thoughts on the book, I read it last year. I love Mary Lawson!

Neco said...

This sounds like a interesting book, Bonnie, and different from something that I'd pick out on my own.

My suggestion is going to be Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. It was one of the NYT's 10 Best Books of 2006 as well as heartily recommended to me by a friend of my mom's. Here's a link to the NYT's review (as I had to get on the site to find out the name of the list):