The Way the Crow Flies

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9780007174577: The Way the Crow Flies

From the acclaimed author of FALL ON YOUR KNEES – an international bestseller – comes a mesmerizing new novel.

"The sun came out after the war and our world went Technicolour. Everyone had the same idea. Let's get married. Let's have kids. Let's be the ones who do it right."

For Madeleine McCarthy – high-spirited and eight years old – her family's posting to a quiet air force base near the Canadian-American border is at first welcome, secure as she is in the love of her beautiful mother, and unaware that her father, Jack, is caught up in his own web of secrets. The early 1960s – a time of optimism infused with the excitement of the space race but overshadowed with the menace of the Cold War – is filtered through a rich imagination as Madeleine draws us into her world.

But the base is host to some intriguing characters, including the unconventional Froelich family, and the odd Mr March whose power over the children is a secret burden that they carry. Then tragedy strikes, and a very local murder intersects with global forces, binding the participants together for life. As the tension in the McCarthy's household builds, Jack must decide where his loyalties lie, and Madeleine learns about the ambiguity of human morality – a lesson she will only begin to understand when she carries her quest for the truth, and the killer, into adulthood twenty years later.

THE WAY THE CROW FLIES is a novel that is as compelling as it is rich. With her unerring eye for the whimsical, the absurd and the quintessentially human, Ann-Marie MacDonald stunningly evokes the pain, confusion, and humour of childhood in a perilous adult world. At once a loving portrayal and indictment of a an era, THE WAY THE CROW FLIES is a work of great hear and soaring intelligence.

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Review:

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

Review:

Praise for FALL ON YOUR KNEES

‘An epic in the true sense: a magnificent novel.’ Sunday Times

‘Extraordinary … A magical tale, a curious testament to both the power of love and the inability of humans to live fully without it.’
The Times

‘A heady, haunting brew, carefully structured, witty and distinctive.’ Observer

‘Astonishing and original … There’s humour and sensitivity here, as well as profound understanding.’ Elle

‘MacDonald’s wonderfully true tale of familial pain and damage make every page sing … Outstanding.’ Mail on Sunday

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