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Road Ends

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  1,695 ratings  ·  368 reviews
He listened as their voices faded into the rumble of the falls. He was thinking about the lynx. The way it had looked at him, acknowledging his existence, then passing out of his life like smoke. . . It was the first thing—the only thing—that had managed, if only for a moment, to displace from his mind the image of the child. He had carried that image with him for a year n ...more
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Knopf Canada
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
May 03, 2014 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Canadian Lit. & literary fiction.
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Marj Madden
4 stars Lawson’s one of my favorites, she nails the typical Canadian novel – unsentimental, bit bleak, full of soul searching dysfunctional people coping as best they can, a rural setting taking centre stage. Her third novel and they’re all pretty great, a Lawson quote "I am in love with that landscape" - it shows...
"Everything monochrome, shades of white and grey. Snake fences tacking their way down the edges of the fields, every rung neatly capped with snow. Dark, snow-laden trees beyond
☔Diane S.
For the first part of this book, I found myself shaking my head, trying to direct character's actions ands begging some of them to please open their eyes. Then I realized Lawson had hooked me again, made the characters so realistic that I felt like I knew them and could offer them advice. Families, large families, all families at times so incredibly complicated.

My impatience lessened somewhat, in the second half, as we are taken further into their backstories. My sympathy remained with little Ad
The setting is the tiny fictional town of Straun, Ontario. It is the dead of winter, and there is something amiss in the Cartwright household. Although Mother and Father and grown son are on the premises, there is not a responsible adult between the three of them. After years of efficiently managing the home and mothering her seven brothers, big sister Megan has finally left and moved to London to start her own life. Things fall to pieces in her absence.

'Some of the most important decisions in
***3.5 Stars*** This very enjoyable story is narrated by 3 different members of the Cartwright family…all beautifully drawn but flawed characters. Edward, the father of 8 children, is a remote and reluctantly married figure constantly isolated in his study in order to disassociate from his family. Tom, the eldest son, abandoned his dreams of becoming an aeronautical engineer after the suicide death of his best friend and he now runs the town’s snowplow. And finally there’s Meg, the only daughter ...more
Road Ends by Mary Larson is set in Struan a fictional town in the North of Canada and revels the story of the intricacies and anguish of family life and how we face tragedy and the pull of responsibilities of family life.

I liked this novel but couldn't help wishing that I had read the author's first novel called Crow Lake and while Road Ends is a standalone novel there was references in the story that probably made more sense if you had read the first novel by this author. I have been told that
Megan Cartwright leaves her parents and numerous brothers (I lost count) to find a new life in England. Her new life isn't at all what she expected, at least not until opportunity knocks. Her family is not the same without her amazing organizational skills, and they soon realize that the mother of the clan basically just wants to have and care for babies. Mother is steadily slipping away--absolutely gaga over babies and clueless about everything else. The oldest, Tom, has already slipped off men ...more
Mary Lawson’s third novel focuses on the Cartwright family: parents and eight children. It is narrated from three perspectives: Edward, the father; Tom, the eldest son; and Megan, the only daughter. Edward, the town’s bank manager, hides in his study reading about cities he dreams of visiting and ignoring the family that is disintegrating around him. Tom, in the depths of a guilt-ridden depression because of the death of a friend, has abandoned his career as an aeronautical engineer and seeks on ...more
Angela M
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this book.
I wanted to read this book because Crow Lake was one of those books where the author takes you so completely to the place where the story lies and lets you climb inside the heads of her characters. I was not disappointed in Mary Lawson's latest novel.

In a small town in Canada we find a family in trouble. These sad, broken people are seriously falli
Bonnie Brody
This is an amazing novel. I don't know how Mary Lawson's work passed me by. Her writing is so textured, her characters so developed, and the plot so poignant. I read this book in one day, staying up half the night to finish it. It is that good.

The novel is written in three voices: Megan, Tom, and Edward. Megan is the only daughter in a family of eight sons who live in northern Ontario in a small town called Struan. Megan's mother is barely functional and she lives solely to have more children. S
Rebecca Foster
Contrasting rural Canada and London in the 1960s, Lawson’s third novel is a powerful story about how people deal with a way of life ending. She creates a perfect balance between her two plot strands, and the evocation of both locations is flawless, perhaps because they have autobiographical worth for her – she grew up on a farm in Ontario but moved to England in 1968. One remarkable thing about the novel is how she traces every decision back to a traumatic event in a character’s past.

The vision
This book is a gift from Mary Lawson, tied with a ribbon that threads together both Crow Lake andThe Other Side of the Bridge. What a pleasure this was to read!
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

So goes the opening line of Anna Karenina. But it could as easily apply to the Cartwright family – seven living sons and one daughter in the fictional town of Struan, near Crow Lake, in the backwoods of northern Ontario at the end of the 1960s.

The narrative shifts between three family members – patriarch Edward (written in the first person), who is curiously absent from his family life; Tom, the eldest son and drifter,
Julie Frankel
I received Road Ends as a First Reads giveaway.

Having read Mary Lawson's other books, I was excited to delve into her newest one.
The writing is so clearly descriptive that it is easy to see in your mind, the fictitious village of Struan as well London England.

The story is told in three voices; Edward, And Tom and Megan, two of Edward's children.

Although the three voices are obviously intertwined, Megan's story could stand on it's own, and was the voice I most wanted to hear.
Initially I despi
JoAnne Pulcino

Mary Lawson

Ms. Lawson became a literary hero for me after reading her first novel, CROW LAKE. (I can’t tell you how many times I have recommended the book) Her magnificent writing and her depth of compassion for the complex and achingly real character is true genius in literature.

The novel takes place in a small town in Canada near Crow Lake with a cold desolate landscape that adds to the bleakness of the story, and the depression depicted in some of the characters. This is a family dee
Mary Billinghurst
Maybe I expected too much, having so enjoyed the first two Mary Lawson books immensely, but Road Ends did not work consistently for me. The problem lies in the characters: most of the family members whose lives are the focus of this novel are highly dysfunctional, so much so that they seem like caricatures. The one "normal" person in the group, the daughter, Megan, is incredibly naive. Such extreme people make it difficult for the reader to relate to or believe them.

Some portions of the novel tr
I want to give this book more stars, because the author is clearly talented and I would like to read more of her work before judging her completely. However, this particular book enraged me.


I spent a very large part of the time it took to read this book angry at the lack of depth given to the female characters, and the fact that their very purpose in the storylines seems solely to add drama and fill the empty bits of the male characters' POV chapters.

I find it odd that the autho
Review also found at

I received this ARC as part of a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This was an interesting read for me and I fear I will not do the book justice in my review. This book at it's core is about family, tragedy, inner ghosts and how things can fall apart when you are not looking. The story is centralized around the Cartwright family and told from the perspective of Edward the father, Tom the son and Megan the daughter.

Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Not quite 5 stars, but mighty close. I blew through this baby in less than 12 hours.

Review to come...
Dysfunctional large family in Northern Ontario with only 1 daughter who holds energy, ambition, and fortitude. And she has a plan. That's the basics of the book. Her plan, how it plays out, and if she eventually chooses obligation or inclination. There are sections in her father's and her oldest brother Tom's voices in between her own. It also skips time frames and reverts to earlier months on occasion. That did not bother me, and that particular method worked for nuance and reaction awareness, ...more
This story is told from the perspective of the three main characters. Meg-who finally leaves home to pursue a life of her own after taking care of her broken family, Tom- the oldest brother who is suffering from guilt and depression, and Edward- the father who is unable to take charge of his family and shuts himself away in his office with his books and hopes of traveling. It is the story of a household falling apart with each member going their separate way while living under the same roof.

I h
Mary Lawson seems to have lost her magic touch in this her third novel set in Struan, Northern Ontario. Family life is once again played out against the bleak landscape of this remote region, where the characters struggle with disappointments, suppressed longings and wasted lives. I wanted so much to love this book as I loved her previous novels, the wonderful Crow Lake and The Other Side of the Bridge and was looking forward to meeting up again with some of the characters that so memorably popu ...more
Carol Rennie
This is the second book of Mary Lawson that I have recently read. This book I received as a giveaway.

Road Ends is a story of a family told in the voices of three of the family members from their perspective. Edward, the father doesn't seem to engage with the family, Megan the only daughter, carries the bulk of looking after her siblings, and Tom, one of the boys, who feels responsibility to his younger brother Adam since the departure of Megan.

I enjoyed reading the three different views. I real
Lynne Brookfield
I am so fond of Mary Lawson's writing (CROW LAKE, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE) that I ordered ROAD ENDS from a bookstore in Canada. The book will not be published in the U.S. until the Spring of 2014.

The settings are Northern Ontario and London during the 1960's, although there are important historical veins to the mining times in Ontario in the early 1900's. The characters and their development make for a fascinating read. How do we let go of a crippling childhood? When do we know where "home"
Mark Landmann
Enjoyed this book and its characters very much for the most part, though aside from the extremely competent and motivated daughter they were all so extremely, almost pathologically passive... it was a bit maddening and slightly less convincing as a result. I think as a consequence I enjoyed the sections which involved the daughter the most, and she's the one whose story remained with me. I enjoyed the settings very much... both time and place.
Katie Bliss
Good novel, good character development and story telling. The father and brothers drove me crazy because I'm a mom and I don't know how you can turn such a blind eye to a house that's digesting and dirty and a 4-year-old who is being neglected...that made me nuts, but I think it was supposed to, and was indicative of the serious issues each character had, and how self-absorbed they were. I enjoyed Megan's character (of course). I look forward to reading this writer's other books, and love that t ...more
Melinda Worfolk
This was such a compelling page-turner for me. A large part of this is probably the structure--the story takes place during a span of a few years in the 1960s, and the narration alternates by chapter between three family members: Edward, the father; Megan, the only daughter in a family of seven (surviving) boys; and Tom, the eldest son. Each time I reached the end of a chapter, I was eager to come back to that storyline to find out what would happen next.

Mary Lawson seems to hit on many of the t
Mary Lawson brings to life a family living in Northern Ontario in the 1960s and the difficult life they have.

Meg Cartwright is 21 at the start of the story. She is the only girl and the eldest of nine children. Her parents have left the running of the house to her. Finally, she decides for a life of her own and moves to England. Her father is pleased with her decision and supports her financially.

Tom Cartwright is the nearest brother in age, to Meg. He's a college student at the start of the sto
Many years ago Margaret Atwood wrote a literary criticism titled Survival. In this book, Atwood looked at the vast length and breadth of Canadian Literature and found several recurring ideas, but the central one, she believed, was that a great many Canadian novels deal with the concept of survival, both in the context of our natural environment and landscapes and in the manner that humans interact with each other.

Mary Lawson's novel Road Ends continues and affirms Atwood's original observations
Interconnected family story set in Northern Ontario. Lawson takes readers back to the setting of her debut Crow Lake. The storyline weaves not only between three members of the same family, but also a bit through time over the course of a couple of years. While not linear in the telling, my preferred type of storytelling, this is a wonderful story that reminds us that the past is always with us, and that the bonds of family are strong. Great book for discussion.
I loved this book, the characters, the structure, all of it. Such depth and heart and honesty in the storytelling. Although there is quite a bit of dysfunction and sadness in this story it is far from dreary and never hopeless. We walk with the three main characters as they deal with their past and find the strength to imagine a better future - even if it doesn't necessarily look like what they'd originally envisioned for themselves. And my delight at finding a couple of the characters from Crow ...more
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Road Ends 3 33 Apr 26, 2014 07:39AM  
  • Kicking the Sky
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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 about Mary Lawson...
Crow Lake The Other Side of the Bridge The Essential Mary Lawson 2-Book Bundle: Crow Lake; The Other Side of the Bridge

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