The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie Macdonald

cover of the book The Way the Crow FliesThe Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie Macdonald
Genre: Fiction
Copyright Year:
Published: 2003
Publisher: Knopf Canada
Format: Hardcover
No. of Pages: 736
No. In Series:
ISBN: 676974082
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The Way the Crow Flies , Ann-Marie MacDonald’s first novel since her bestselling debut, Fall on Your Knees , opens in 1962 when the McCarthy family moves from Germany to their new home on a Canadian air force base near London, Ontario. Madeleine, eight and already a blossoming comic, is particularly close with her father, Jack, an air force officer. Her loving Acadian mother, Mimi, and older brother Mike round out this family, whose simple goodness reflects the glow of an era that seemed like paradise. But all that is about to change. The Cuban Missile Crisis is looming, and Jack, loyal and gullible, suddenly has an important task to carry out that involves a scientist–a former Nazi–in Canada. While Jack scrambles to keep his activities hidden from his wife, Madeleine too is learning to keep secrets (about a teacher at school). The Way the Crow Flies is all about the fertility of lies, how one breeds another and another. Although the writing flows with a strong current, the profusion of pop references, especially ad slogans, grows tiresome. The author can, however, capture a lovely image in few words: ‘The afternoon intensifies. August is the true light of summer’ and ‘yes, the earth is a woman, and her favourite food is corn. ‘ At times the story is marvelously compelling, as the mystery of a horrific murder in the fields near the base is unravelled. When events lead to a trial and its outcome, the story peaks, in a conclusion with no easy answers. The last third of the book takes place, for the most part, 20 years later. Here the novel meanders somewhat, losing its ability to captivate with the same intensity. The reader longs to return to the earlier world, which MacDonald has captured in vital detail. –Mark Frutkin
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