The Other Side of the Bridge
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The Other Side of the Bridge

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,266 ratings  ·  453 reviews
From the author of the beloved #1 national bestseller Crow Lake comes an exceptional new novel of jealously, rivalry and the dangerous power of obsession.

Two brothers, Arthur and Jake Dunn, are the sons of a farmer in the mid-1930s, when life is tough and another world war is looming. Arthur is reticent, solid, dutiful and set to inherit the farm and his father’s character...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published September 26th 2006 by The Dial Press (first published 2006)
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This is one of the most emotionally satisfying books I have read. Set in a small town in the far north of Canada, The Other Side Of The Bridge is constructed of two parallel narratives: the story of Arthur, a farmer's son growing up in the nineteen thirties and forties; and Ian, a doctor's son growing up twenty years later. The two stories intersect when Ian, aged sixteen, comes to work on Arthur's farm. The Scotsman described Mary Lawson as a 'master of the quiet moment made significant, with a...more
Tea Jovanović
Must read! Must read! Ova knjiga je prava muzika za dušu... Sjajan prevod... Mislim da se tu i tamo još može naći u prodaji...
Jun 10, 2014 Chrissie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lynne
In conclusion:

I liked this book for many reasons. It has humor. It covers widely varied topics, all of which I found interesting. Sibling rivalry. Parents’ attachments to their children…. and let’s admit it, we do not respond identically to each child. How do we / should we choose what we want to do with our lives? I mean what job we ultimately choose. Do we choose, or is it fate that decides for us? Are we destined for a certain occupation, given our particular personality? And what is the val...more
I read this book because I loved Crow Lake and just loved how it was written. Now I am a convert to Mary Lawson and I will read anything she puts out there. Hopefully she is somewhere right now working on a huge, fat book, because if I have any complaints it is that her books are so short! 300 pages of this one wasn't enough for me!

My favorite thing about this book was how it creeped up on the climax. The whole thing was written with such a calm, serene feel that when something does actually hap...more
Adriane Devries
Have you ever wept to come to the end of a book? I did today, when I finished our book club selection, The Other Side of the Bridge, by Mary Lawson. It was absolutely the best book I have ever read -- at least that’s how I feel today. There were many times throughout that I thought that if I could write the perfect book, this would be it: with the themes of duty and the benevolent traps of love and friendship, of the conflict between disappointment and contentment, and (how could I help but noti...more
Jan 19, 2012 KJ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to KJ by: SJHS Teacher Book Club
"This is a book you will be driven to share with friends."

So says The Gazette in Montreal, and I'm echoing it here.

This was November's book selection for the book club I never seem to get to, and because I hadn't finished the book by the time the meeting rolled around, and I didn't want it spoiled for me, I didn't go this time either. Having just finished it a few minutes ago, I am definitely glad I waited.

I read this book essentially in three sittings. I started it during a silent reading class...more
This is a superb book. It is set in northern Canada in a small town. The book is split into 2 stories that occur about 10 -15 years apart so that at the end they coincide. The narrative focuses in each story on teenage boys - Arthur and Ian. Each has difficulty facing the future, dealing with women and how to decide what kind of men they want to be.

In Ian's story he is working for the adult Arthur on his farm - Ian's father is a doctor, his mother hates where they live and Ian uses the farm as a...more
i keep going back and forth as to whether 3 stars is appropriate for this book - it wasn't a page-turner with incessant drama that kept me up reading late into the night; the pace was slower, with a meandering path that not only told the tale of the characters, but gave life to the fictional town of struan. this story encompasses so much: unstated sibling rivalry, the effects of one's hometown, interpersonal relationships, family dynamics, guilt, expectations, rebelliousness, all mixed in with a...more
Really enjoyed this somewhat subtle though well-written tale that is part coming-of-age and part mystery, and which manages a few southern-gothic-esque themes (relevant social issues/tragedy) that help to give it more volume and weight than it might have otherwise.

Sep 10, 2007 Pieter rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
I loved this sequel to Crow Lake. Her chapters go back and forth between her two main characters who live in a small, rural community in Canada. Both of them are young men. One is the hulking, quiet, empathetic farmer's son who has a competitive, trouble-making brother. The other is the son of the town doctor who is trying to forget his mother who left for life in the big city. She uses a very effective storytelling technique, but I won't spoil it.

* FULL DISCLOSURE: Mary Lawson is one of my favo...more
Barbara Elsborg
Beautifully written story about youth, brotherhood, mistakes and a real taste of what life was like in the 1930s 40s. What I've have liked more of was Jake - and yet I can see why the author didn't do that. He was an evil boy and that evil pervades the story even when he's not around. The horror of that one word uttered by Arthur resonates throughout - and the irony of that word (won't spoil by saying it)is very poignant. In most settings a word you'd like to hear. In that setting, the very wors...more
This is a difficult task the writer has set for herself. She tells a large part of this story from the viewpoint of the least interesting character, Arthur. Such is her gift that even though we are seeing the world through the dumbfounded eyes of the good son who remains on the farm, we still understand the pain and complexity of the emotional life swirling around him, even though it is almost completely lost on Arthur. I'm not quite sure how Lawson carries it off but I can say you will not be d...more
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If you liked Crow Lake, you'll probably like this book. I thought The Other Side of the Bridge was a bit more complex than Crow Lake.

(I'm not going to try to summarize the book, just say what I liked and didn't like)

I loved the scene where Pete, Ian's Indian friend (Native Canadian?), tells Ian he is going to stay on the Rez because he has everything that's important there.

I really liked the themes of the book and the exploration of destiny. Ian desperately wants to get away from the town and...more
Mary Lawson is a remarkable story teller. “The Other Side of the Bridge” is set in a small town in Northern Canada. The story evolves around two brothers and the rivalry that defines their relationship, forms their character and creates their destiny.
The author presents the story in an interesting fashion going back and forth between three time lines. The distant past when Arthur and Jake were children, the more recent past when WWII was being fought and the present which is in the 60’s. To be...more
I didn't exactly choose to read this book - Mary Lawson's acclaimed follow-up to her first novel, Crow Lake. It would be more accurate to say I was sort of cornered into it. An English instructor at the small university where I work as a librarian asked me to give a research instruction workshop on literary databases for her students who had been assigned to write an analytical essay about the book. She (the instructor) had picked Lawson's book for the class because, as she put it, “it's a bit m...more
This novel, released in paperback in 2007, is by the same author who wrote "Crow Lake." (a popular book club book) Once again in the setting of Northern Ontario Canada the story unfolds during World War II and then later in the 1950's. The plot turns on sibling rivalry between two brorthers, Arthur and Jake. Arthur is dutiful, slow, inarticulate, while Jake is charming, bright and without empathy. Their mother clearly favors Jake. Arthur seeks to win his Mother's love, but never quite succeeds....more
This is the story of 2 brohters, Arthur and Jake who are a different as night and day in looks, personality and temperament, who are raised as differently as could possibly be and the impact all of this has on their lives over the course of their lives.
Mary Lawson is such a gifted storyteller that I couldn't put the book down. The story is told from alternating chapters from their growing up years and their lives as adults. At first that was a bit disconcering, but after a few chapters I caught...more
Couldn't put this one down and was hooked from the first chapter.

From back cover:

"The Other Side of the Bridge is an unforgettable story of jealousy, rivalry and the power of obsession played out over the course of a half century. Two brothers, the sons of a farmer living in the fictional Northern Ontario community of Struan and whose lives are overshadowed by the looming threat of World War II, are polar opposites. Arthur is shy, dependable and dutiful, set to inherit the family farm, while Jak...more
This is Mary Lawson's second novel, the first one being the wonderful "Crow Lake". While "the Other Side of the Bridge" isn't quite as extraordinary as her first work, it is an excellent book and a worthwhile read. I loved some of her descriptive passages, particularly the ones about fishing and being out in the canoe. I also really enjoyed the natural progression of some of the conversations in the midst of the ordinary activities of life, like Ian and Dr Christopherson as they scrounge up crac...more
A very satisfying read in the grand tradition of rural Canadian tragedy. I loved Lawson's writing style, and found the characters to be vividly portrayed. Looking forward to making my way through her other novels.
The Other Side of the Bridge is a spell binding and edifying experience. I wept when I finished it because it rings so true. It is a story about sibling rivalry, friendship and loyalty. It is also a coming of age story that spans two generations.

The writing is excellent. There is nothing there and doesn't belong or that distrubes the story telling in any way. There are no issues raised that aren't resolved. The characters are complete and multidemensional. What I like best about the writing is
I really enjoyed this book even though there are some truly awful things that happen in it. Alternating between the story of two brothers during WWII and of a doctor's son in the 1960's, this story lures us into the northern Ontario town of Struan and the age-old themes of love, hate, duty, family. Woven through the undercurrents of the relationships between the various characters is the pull of the environment, of the lake, of nature, of oneness with all life. As you read you know there are big...more
I read this because Mary Lawson wrote Crow Lake and it haunted me. I was not disappointed with her second book, The Other Side of the Bridge, although I think Crow Lake is the better book. The Other Side of the Bridge takes the classic story of two brothers - one good - and meshes the lessons taken from both The Prodigal Son and Cain and Abel. Throw in a woman to make it a love triangle but keep it subdued and approachable by setting it in a farming community in Canada and, voila, you...more
I absolutely loved this book. I picked it up while on vacation in one of those charming independent bookstores that only seems to exit in tourist towns by water. I probably paid double what it goes for on Amazon but it was worth every penny. I am embarrassed to admit I had never heard of Mary Lawson before but I will definitely read her other books now that I've discovered her.

I appreciate books set in a historical time period and I'm a sucker for anything related to WWII. The book is written w...more
Lindsay (Little Reader Library)
This is one of the best novels I have ever read, absolutely loved it. I am in awe of the writing, the storytelling.
Unputdownable book. Wonderful characters, believable relationships, the hardship and romance, pain of life and love is told in superb and stunning prose. I love how the story is told, how the setting in rural Northern Canada is evoked so strongly that the reader can close their eyes and see Arthur farming his land and Ian helping him.
This is the story of two brothers with very different personalities growing up in rural the Ontario north, around the time of the second world war, set next to the story of a contemporary young man trying to figure out what to do with his life, both living in the same town. The characters were well done, but the connection between past and present was missing most of the time for me, and the two stories felt disparate and disjointed much of the time.
Mar 25, 2008 Tricia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in rural life and or sibling relationships; family conflict
Recommended to Tricia by: my sister Julie
I really enjoyed this book. It alternates between 2 time periods...late 1930's/1940s and early 1960s. The first time period focuses on two brothers in conflict - a Cain and Abel story. The second time period follows the coming-of-age of a young boy. The lives of the characters intersect and set up an intense ending. Set in a small town in northern Canada, the book captures what it feels like to live in a small farming community.
Reread for book club. I loved it even more on the second reading. I love how the story you know something in the 1960s but then learn how it happened in a later chapter about the 1940s. Well crafted story, fantastic characters, emotionally fulfilling.
I found myself wrapped up in the story of Ian, though his own story and life is small. His faith and love has been tested when his mother leaves he and his father in his youth, tired of the small town desolation. His quest to find his own way, wanting to leave, wanting to stay, and the forces that help him.
Ian recounts the history of the quiet man he takes a job with, as requested by his father, to fill his time over the summer. He takes this unlikely job because of his infatuation with the wi...more
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Mary Lawson (born 1946) is a Canadian novelist.

Born in southwestern Ontario, she spent her childhood in Blackwell, Ontario (located between Sarnia and Brights Grove) and is a distant relative of L. M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.

Lawson moved to England after graduating from McGill University with a psychology degree in 1968. She also married in Ontario, has two grown up sons and now...more
More about Mary Lawson...
Crow Lake Road Ends George and the Goody Wagon The Essential Mary Lawson 2-Book Bundle: Crow Lake; The Other Side of the Bridge

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“Suddenly he saw himself as others in the crowd must surely see him; a silent, solitary figure, standing apart from the rest. He looked out at the hoardes of singing, laughing people and felt more alone than he'd ever felt in his life. Was this how it was going to be then? Was this who he was? A man apart from his fellows, making the journey through life alone?” 33 likes
“You'd have thought that after suffering such a loss nothing else would matter to her but that didn't seem to be how it worked. She was fearful about everything now. It was as if she had finally seen the awful power of fate, it's deviousness, the way it could wipe out in an instant the one thing you had been certain you could rely on, and now she was constantly looking over her shoulder, trying to work out where the next blow might fall.” 4 likes
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