He listened as their voices faded into the rumble of the falls. He was thinking about the lynx. The way it had looked at him, acknowledging his existence, then passing out of his life like smoke. . . It was the first thing—the only thing—that had managed, if only for a moment, to displace from his mind the image of the child. He had carried that image with him for a year now, and it had been a weight so great that sometimes he could hardly stand.
Mary Lawson’s beloved novels, Crow Lake and The Other Side of the Bridge, have delighted legions of readers around the world. The fictional, northern Ontario town of Struan, buried in the winter snows, is the vivid backdrop to her breathtaking new novel.
Roads End brings us a family unravelling in the aftermath of tragedy: Edward Cartwright, struggling to escape the legacy of a violent past; Emily, his wife, cloistered in her room with yet another new baby, increasingly unaware of events outside the bedroom door; Tom, their eldest son, twenty-five years old but home again, unable to come to terms with the death of a friend; and capable, formidable Megan, the sole daughter in a household of eight sons, who for years held the family together but has finally broken free and gone to England, to try to make a life of her own.
Roads End is Mary Lawson at her best. In this masterful, enthralling, tender novel, which ranges from the Ontario silver rush of the early 1900s to swinging London in the 1960s, she gently reveals the intricacies and anguish of family life, the push and pull of responsibility and individual desire, the way we can face tragedy, and in time, hope to start again.
“The frozen landscape, which might fill some with dread, opens a rich world for Lawson…. It is a beautiful novel, with the psychological twists and turns of each character gently and poignantly unfurled.”
—Sarah Hampson, The Globe and Mail
“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. She humanizes even the least sympathetic of her charges.”
—Laura Eggertson, Toronto Star
“Mary Lawson finds literary gold in the hard landscape of the Canadian Shield.”
“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…. The same easy grace and economy of language that drew readers into [Lawson’s] 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…. Complex and satisfying.”
—Dory Cerny, Quill & Quire
“If the part of Ontario west of Toronto is Munro country, then the area northwest of New Liskeard and Cobalt—where [Mary Lawson’s] fictional towns of Struan and Crow Lake are roughly located—may well end up being dubbed Lawson Country.”
—Emily Donaldson, National Post