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: 2004
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Format: Trade Paperback
No. of Pages: 848
No. In Series:
ISBN: 60586370
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To create a colourfully realised narrative seen through only youthful eyes is not an easy task, as the glut of badly written novels in this vein attests. Fortunately, some writers possess the skill in no uncertain terms. Ann-Marie MacDonald is such a writer, and The Way the Crow Flies is an arresting contribution to the genre. Every word is at the service of the narrative trajectory, and MacDonald never loses sight of her primary aim: to present to the reader all the pain, splendour and humour of the human condition. The McCarthy family has thrived after the Second World War. When the family is posted to a secluded Canadian Air Force base, a new world opens for eight-year-old Madeleine, who is intoxicated by the sights around her. Her world, she thinks, is perfect: an exquisite mother and a dashing father who is a wing commander. But this is the early 1960s, and the cold war is in place. Madeleine doesn’t know that her father is involved in a world of secrets, and when a savage killing in the region begins to affect the family, cracks begin to appear in Madeleine’s perfect world. Twenty years pass, and Madeleine’s life is still affected by the search for the truth and a killer. Weighing in at some 700-odd pages, The Way the Crow Flies reads quite as compellingly as a much shorter novel, and the earlier sections of the book are magically rendered, with Madeleine an affectingly drawn character. But MacDonald’s story extends beyond this era; the latter part of the book, as her heroine grows older, is quite as assiduously detailed as the earlier sections. The author’s subjects are commitment and betrayal, and these themes are realised in the context of a trenchant and distinctive narrative. MacDonald’s earlier Fall on Your Knees achieved some acclaim, but this one is likely to bring her many new readers. — Barry Forshaw
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