Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I loved Mary Lawson's first novel CROW LAKE, so was pleased to find her second one staring at me from the Best Bets shelf at my local branch of the Toronto Public Library yesterday.

Again set in Ontario's northern landscape, in a small fictional town called Struan, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE bridges generations in its dual narratives in the years of WWII and then in the 60s. You get to know well the rivalry between Arthur and Jake Dunn, brothers who are distinctly different in the way they view their world and the way they treat the people in it.

In the present of the novel you begin to understand the nature of that rivalry through the eyes of an outsider, Ian Christopherson, the town doctor's son, who goes to work as a farmhand for Arthur in order to be close to his beautiful and gentle wife Laura with whom he has a typically teenish obsession. It is there over the course of several summers that Ian discovers the secret that will ultimately tear the Dunn family apart.

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