Road Ends

Road Ends

A Novel

Book - 2014
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"Set in a backwoods village in northern Canada, this is the story of a young woman who leaves her dysfunctional, male-dominated family to make a new life in London. With her dreamy mother abed upstairs, and her father passive in a house full of rambunctious, out of control male children from the age of 4-14, Megan has become the defacto mother, housekeeper, nurse, and lynchpin of her household. Wholly dependable, intelligent, lovely, they depend on her completely-- until one day she has had enough. She packs her bags and leaves for London knowing virtually no one. As she did in her previous two books, Mary Lawson flawlessly weaves the narration of Megan's life and love with the consequences of her departure at home, particularly for her youngest brother Adam, age 4, who has retreated into himself out of insecurity and neglect. Lawson is particularly fine in calibrating the emotional core of her characters, and the choice Megan must make, which, while poignant, in Lawson's hands is also an affirmation of what is, finally, universally important"-- Provided by publisher
"From "a talented writer whose lyrical, evocative writing invites comparisons to Rick Bass and Richard Ford" (Publishers Weekly, starred review) comes a deftly woven novel that examines the layered makeup of a family: the affections and resentments, obligations and sacrifices"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : The Dial Press, 2014
ISBN: 9780812995732
Characteristics: 341 pages ; 22 cm


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A very satisfying read. The ending would be a tragedy if this was a choice made my daughter but all of the plot lines are completed and the story offers a fascinating insight into dysfunctional parenting where the children have to step up to fill the gap.

BPLpicks Jan 05, 2017

We follow the shifting narratives of three members of the Cartwright family as they unfold their family story in the fictional town of Struan in Northern Ontario. This book addresses the complexities of family relationships, offers well formed characters and produces a somewhat bleak but magnificent atmosphere. This is a very pleasurable read for anyone who enjoys domestic fiction. Highly recommended.

Feb 15, 2016

Not an unqualified success. This novel is told by different family members in alternating chapters, set mostly in Northern Ontario but also London in the late 1960s. At times, the character's voices do not ring true, especially the father's voice. The happy ending strains credibility.

Jul 09, 2015

Very good. Mary Lawson captures the essence of a small town in Northern Ontario in winter. The characters feel like you have known them for years and you feel invested in their personal situations. This is my second Mary Lawson book and I have been really pleased with both of them. I would definitely recommend this.

Jun 17, 2015

A real page turner. Had a lot of mixed emotions when reading this novel, including anger. Would definitely recommend it.

Jun 13, 2015

Impressive. Loved her writing style.

dairyqueen Jan 30, 2015

This book is beautifully written. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Jan 27, 2015

I loved the small town Ontario landscape. This story of a struggling family is a bit bleak but that only added to the mood of the story. I got pulled right in.

Sep 27, 2014

This poignant story gradually draws you in. It's a quiet story but at the same time, it's a page turner. I was repeatedly brought to tears near the end. Highly recommended.

Sep 11, 2014

Domestic fiction, when done well, manages to illuminate the ordinary, to give a bit of poetry to everyday life. In Road Ends, author Mary Lawson doesn’t quite achieve this. It is the story of the Cartwright family who live in an isolated North Ontario town at the end of the 1960s. A family that barely functions but for the saving grace of the one daughter in a sea of boys. When Megan, at 21, decides to leave home, the family begins to disintegrate. Father Edward and mother Emily are both neglectful parents. Emily, mentally unsound, is only happy when she has a newborn to tend. Edward, when not at work, hides himself away in his study, finding it hard to communicate with his children. Why these two ever had children is beyond comprehension, but the era dictated that they did. While there exists the basis for an interesting story, Lawson’s prose style can be, at times, a little flat and the narrative, trite. She tells the story in a somewhat detached way, never managing to inject that bit of poetry that the story cries out for. Megan’s storyline is fairly compelling in that she manages to escape her dysfunctional family and you cheer for her as she builds a life for herself in London. However, it tends to be a bit too cozy, centred around decorating – the quaint, little hotel that employs her; the adorable flat she finds to live in. Back in Ontario, the Cartwright men are reduced to eating cornflakes for many a meal while trying hard to avoid each other. But after three years, they finally reach out to Megan, as this is rural Ontario in the 1960s and men have yet to figure how to do laundry or make a casserole.

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Mar 17, 2014

P. 136 " that stage she probably trusted his judgement; she hadn't had time yet to find out that he had none. What he had instead was a lethal combination of pride and stupidity that was going to take them straight to the bottom, but she clearly had no inkling of that."
P. 81 " My father had the same totally unjustified confidence in himself-not the confidence of a man well versed in his subject but the confidence of a man who has no idea how little he knows-and the same instant aggression towards anyone who challenged him."


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