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LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2021
Clara's sister is missing. Angry, rebellious Rose, had a row with their mother, stormed out of the house and simply disappeared. Eight-year-old Clara, isolated by her distraught parents' efforts to protect her from the truth, is grief-stricken and bewildered.
Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, moves into the house next door, a house left to him by an old woman he can barely remember and within hours gets a visit from the police. It seems he's suspected of a crime.
At the end of her life Elizabeth Orchard is thinking about a crime too, one committed thirty years ago that had tragic consequences for two families and in particular for one small child. She desperately wants to make amends before she dies.
Set in Northern Ontario in 1972, A Town Called Solace explores the relationships of these three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past. By turns gripping and darkly funny, it uncovers the layers of grief and remorse and love that connect us, but shows that sometimes a new life is possible.
'I've been trying to tell everyone I know about Mary Lawson... Each one of her novels is just a marvel' ANNE TYLER
© Mary Lawson 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
Beautifully written and so finely crafted; told in the kind of prose I most admire because it takes what appears to be complicated and makes it clear . . . These interwoven stories of three people at different stages of life, and yet each struggling with their own form of loss and grief, will stay with me the way good friendships stay with you. It's already one of my favourite books of the year
Mary Lawson writes with a pure simplicity... she has the God-given ability to convey the complexities of human nature in everyday language... It was only on a second reading that I came to realise quite how intricately plotted A Town Called Solace is: like a magician, Lawson hides her technique, and makes it all seem as natural as breathing... she possesses an instinctive feel for when to withhold information, and when to release it
Lawson's books are a pleasure to read - they conjure a space where quiet reflection and owning your past mistakes bring gentle rewards; they feel kind and wise and brimful of empathy
This is Mary Lawson's fourth novel and I'd recommend a binge immersion... Lawson has carved out a world in Northern Ontario that's vividly, absorbingly real; she captures tones and voices with exactitude in writing that's idiomatic but never flashy and carries you along from midnight to dawn, oblivious of the time.
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
The author of the Booker Prize-longlisted A Town Called Solace on Alice Munro, the pleasures of pond-watching, and… sticking electrodes onto the chests of hairy steel-workers in Wales.
The Fortune Men, Great Circle, A Town Called Solace, China Room, Bewilderment and The Promise are among the books longlisted this year.