Mary Lawson's books stacked against a pink background with a flower to the right

Two of Mary Lawson's books have been longlisted for the Booker Prize

Beloved by book clubs and a perfect next read for fans of Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Strout and Alice Munro, Mary Lawson's work deftly and poignantly evokes the tightly woven units of small-town communities and families, navigating their joys and sorrows, their traumas and their loves. The characters are unforgettable and their stories endlessly revisitable. With simple language but intricate plotting, these novels address the complexities of human life in all its comedy and tragedy.  If you're looking for the best place to start, look no further than her most recent Booker longlistee, A Town Called Solace, or Lawson's internationally bestselling debut: Crow Lake

A Town Called Solace (2021)

In the words of Graham Norton, Lawson's latest novel is "poised, elegant prose, paired with quiet drama that will break your heart. The sort of book that seems as if it has always existed because of its timeless perfection."

Eight-year-old Clara's big sister is missing. Rose stormed out of the house after a row with her mother and simply disappeared. 

Liam Kane, new to this small town in Northern Ontario, has moved into the house next door and is immediately visited by the police.

Elizabeth Orchard wants to make amends. At the end of her life, she is thinking about a crime too, one committed thirty years ago and with tragic consequences for two families and one small child.

A Town Called Solace explores how these three characters are brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past. It’s about childhood trauma, painful histories that must be reckoned with, and those moments in life when we can change for the better. Longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021.

Crow Lake (2003)

Tomorrow is forever, and years pass in no time at all

Crow Lake was Lawson's first novel, and it conquered the world.  It was translated into 25 languages and published in 28 countries, was a New York Times bestseller, won the McKitterick prize and spent 75 weeks on the bestseller lists in her native Canada.

It's the story of Kate, one of the orphaned Morrison children, who worshipped her elder brother Matt. But as an adult, she rarely sees the siblings who were once her entire world, and she cannot forgive Matt for something that happened when they were younger. When she is called back to Crow Lake for a family occasion, she reluctantly returns home, to childhood memories and the weight of their mutual past. 

Crow Lake has a fan too in Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, who 'read it at a single sitting, then read it again, just for the pleasure of it.'

The Other Side of the Bridge (2007)

...Or was he merely surprised at how easy it was to give in to an impulse, and carry through the thought which lay in your mind? Simply to do whatever you wanted to do, and damn the consequences

Lawson's second novel was longlisted for the Booker Prize and picked for the Richard & Judy Book Club. 

Set in the mid-1930s, it's the powerful story of Arthur and Jake, brothers yet worlds apart. 

Arthur is older, shy, dutiful, set to inherit his father's farm. Jake is younger, handsome and rash, a dangerous man to know.

When Laura arrives in their rural community, the fragile balance of the brothers' rivalry is pushed to the edge of catastrophe.

An irresistibly compelling story of jealousy, rivalry, and obsession in a small town in Northern Ontario.

Road Ends (2015)  

They all lived in their own little clouds.

In Road Ends, for the first time, Lawson's protagonist divides her time between '60s London and the frozen north of Canada. 

A subtle, captivating novel about a family falling apart in the aftermath of tragedy. Road Ends follows twenty-one-year-old Megan Cartwright, the sole daughter in a household of eight sons, who for years has held the family together, who has never been outside the small town she was born in... until one winter's day in 1965 when she sets off for London.

A glittering new life lies ahead, but left behind, her family begins to unravel, and Megan must choose between her new-found independence and the ties that tug at her from home. 

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