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Road Ends (2013)

por Mary Lawson

Séries: Struan (3)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
3022386,824 (4.19)50
"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"-- "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"--… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I read this 'on a break' from trying to conquer the world's longest and dullest biography of Sylvia Plath, but really wished I hadn't after meeting the characters. Apart from Megan, who escapes her supremely dysfunctional background to start a fairly successful life in London, the Cartwrights of northern Canada are the poster family for 'just because you can doesn't mean you should'. The parents are like Mr and Mrs Bennet of Pride and Prejudice, only without the excuse of living in Regency England and trying again and again for a son and heir. And at least the Bennets stopped at five! Nine children and only one daughter, who gets lumped with running the house and raising her siblings for fifteen years - but the father, Edward, who for some reason gets to tell his story in first person, hides in his study from children he hates and a wife he doesn't love, while Emily keeps popping them out and then abandoning her children once out of nappies. As Megan says, 'they're not even Catholics!' I did feel really sorry for poor Adam, but who keeps having children when the brood mostly runs to boys?

There is more to the story, and the narrative is Anne Tyler-esque, which I usually enjoy, but I just couldn't get past the selfish parents. The multiple timelines, jumping back and forth to cover the same events from different perspectives, didn't help either.

Back to Sylvia *sigh* ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Mar 31, 2024 |
Set in northern Ontario in the 1960s this is a story of a family coming apart after tragedies of the past. Lawson's multilayered story portrays unhappiness and grief but injects it with considerable hope that keeps the reader optimistic. It's a tender story reminiscent of Kent Haruf's style, yet the tension makes it a page-turner. This was my first book by Lawson and certainly won't be the last. Highly recommended. ( )
  VivienneR | Jan 3, 2023 |
Mary Lawson's writing reminds me of Kent Haruf....spare but beautiful. Lawson tells the story of a family falling apart, even though they live in the same house, each is struggling with their own issues and can't seem to help each other. Ultimately, one of them must step up to save the family and that one must make the biggest sacrifice to help them survive. Highly recommend....she is one of my favorites. ( )
  almin | Oct 6, 2022 |
Disfunctional family in 1960s. Megan is the only daughter raising her brothers. Her mother keeps having babies, all boys and devotes herself to the babies to the exclusion of the rest of her children. Megan's father stays at work ( bank manager) or in his study at home ignoring everyone. Megan.s brother Tom experienced a trauma ( his friend kills himself a car accident). The other brother's are typicak brawling useless boys. Megan finally escapes to England where she tries to make a life for herself but the pull from her family is strong in her heart. She especially worries about her little brother Adam that she was raising on her own. The readers keep wondering will she go home? Should she go home? Can Tom move forward.? What is wrong with Megan's mother? Megan's father had an abusive father and his childhood haunts him. Can he be the father to his children that he needs to be? These questions are all handled with a great deal of heart in this page turner. I really enjoyed it. ( )
  Smits | Apr 18, 2021 |
I have binge-read all of Mary Lawson's books over the last couple of weeks. I read Crow Lake many years ago and it became one of my all-time favourite novels. After re-reading it a couple of weeks ago, I decided to see if Mary Lawson had written anything else, and ordered her other two books, both of which I read over the weekend.

Road Ends is my least favourite of the three, but still a powerful and engaging read. Like all Lawson's books, it is set in a remote Ontario town called Struan. There are even cameos from a couple of characters from Crow Lake in there, which I enjoyed seeing.

The book is about a family with eight sons and one daughter. The father is remote and busy, shut away in his study when he is home and leaving the raising of all these kids largely to his only daughter since his wife seems only to be interested in children while they are still babies.

So when Megan, at the age of 21, decides it's time to leave home, it's inevitable that things might start to go wrong.

The story is told from three points of view: Tom, the eldest son, Megan and Edward, the father. Tom and Megan's sections are told in third person while Edward's are in first person, almost like a journal he's writing for himself.

Tom is home again at the age of 25, dealing with a tragedy that he feels at least partly responsible for. He's shut himself off from the world, not speaking or engaging with anyone any more than he has to and keeps to a strict, unalterable routine to keep his world within the boundaries he can cope with.

Yet as things begin to spiral out of control at home, Tom finds himself having to deal with more and more and his carefully built walls begin to crumble, allowing the rest of the world to begin creeping in.

Meanwhile, Megan has moved to London which, after the smallness of Struan is something of a culture shock. Yet, ever practical and pragmatic, she manages to find work she loves and build a life for herself. She misses her family, but revels in not having to be responsible for them anymore.

Edward, locked in his study, is largely unaware of the chaos reigning outside the door. The occasional rowdy fight between his sons drags him away from his reading and he emerges to yell at them, something he regrets afterward because it reminds him of his own father, a brutal man whose shadow he has never really managed to escape.

The emotional and physical isolation of these characters is almost painful to read. But their eventual growth as they begin to dig themselves out from the holes they have been hiding in is worth the pain.

The ending was disappointing though. And I think that's why it isn't my favourite of the three novels by this author. The explanation for the mother's fading from the world didn't ring entirely true to me, and both Megan and Tom disappointed me. They both had other choices they could have made in the situation, although I do sort of understand why they acted the way they did. I just wished it could have been different.

But overall, this is another beautiful book by Mary Lawson that illustrates the harshness and isolation and the wild, untamed beauty of small communities in the North of Canada. ( )
  Vampyr14 | Feb 19, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 23 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Never mind Lord of the Flies or any of the other tired traditional offerings on the English syllabus. Every Canadian student should be reading Mary Lawson novels – starting with Crow Lake and now including her newest accomplishment, Road Ends....Like all great writers — and Lawson is among the finest — she tells her story in a deceptively simple and straightforward way, but one that resonates with anyone who has ever struggled with doing the right thing by a family member despite a desperate longing to escape that burden....Lawson’s writing is clean, clear and accessible. Her descriptions are strong, and her dialogue believable. Like Alistair MacLeod, Lawson writes of bone-searing tragedies without shrouding her novels in impenetrable darkness. She leaves room for light — and hope.
 
What preoccupies Lawson is families; specifically large, sibling-rich families pockmarked by tragedy. In her writing, Lawson has always been more about craftsmanship than innovation: What she does she does so impeccably that the triumph of duty over dreams seems somehow urgent and compelling.
 
This is a very readable book, its narrative compelling, its setting richly drawn, its characters sympathetic; you want things to end well, you feel badly for almost everyone. It does read, to some degree, like a retilling of ground already well worked over. The deck is a little too predictably stacked. The ending both necessary and maddening.
 
There is great tragedy and sadness, hardship and loss, and yet what sets Lawson apart is storytelling so matter-of-fact (in the best possible way) that readers are able to feel the emotional intensity of the characters’ situations without succumbing to moroseness. There is no drudgery, even when Lawson is describing the literal drudgery of running a farm or tending house.

Admirers of Lawson’s previous novels will not be disappointed with the author’s latest effort. The same easy grace and economy of language that drew readers into those earlier stories are employed to full effect, and the setting, along with the welcome reappearance of a few familiar characters, imparts a sense of homecoming....By the time Lawson ties her three protagonists’ stories tightly together at the end of the novel, we have come to know them for their distinct voices and personalities, and are relieved by the subtle hints the author has dropped along the way to indicate a more hopeful future. Redemption appears in many guises, and these characters, despite their flaws, feel greatly deserving of any that comes their way.
 

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Struan (3)
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The road was heavily overgrown and they had to stop the car half a dozen times in order to hack down shrubs or drag fallen trees aside. (Prologue, Struan, August 1967)
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"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"-- "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"--

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