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"Crow Lake” and the Certainty of Uncertainty

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

This week I finished the fine literary fiction novel, Crow Lake, by the Canadian writer Mary Lawson. Such smooth prose and simple sentence structure lulled me into the feel of northern Canada’s expanse though I’ve never been there and reminded me of years in Mississippi when I too stared into ponds and creeks and saw a future that would not be.

I won’t spoil things for you but much of the drama of this story occurs offstage thus leaving fictional space for the reader to ponder this complex circumstance of a family rocked by intrusive fate. Here, characters weigh what happened in their lives, and what didn’t. They hold the light of expectation up to familial destinies having veered from the certainty of youthful judgment, but it will take an outsider’s objectivity to help sort the pain and misunderstanding of this family tangled in choices of love and duty.

This rich story lit up my own writer’s eye as the theme of certainty of things uncertain unfolded, a theme central to my unreleased novel, “Prism of Friends.” Southern fiction often centers on family strive, secrets, and individual decisions not fully understood until the end. Such will be the case in my novel playing out between a humdrum Mississippi hometown and the renewing verve of New Orleans a few years after Hurricane Katrina where LARRY WINSTEAD searches to find meaning in his life beyond the pedestrian existence of his stalled world.

But if you can fin the human gravity of personal connection, sometimes when things fall apart, they fall together again.

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