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The Way the Crow Flies

Ann-Marie MacDonald's book was nominated for a Giller Prize in 2003.

Ann-Marie MacDonald

A haunting story of secrets, murder and the loss of innocence that takes place in a small Ontario community during the Cold War era of the early 1960s.

In The Way the Crow Flies, Ann-Marie MacDonald takes us back to the early 1960s, a time of optimism infused with the excitement of the space race and overshadowed by the menace of the Cold War — a world filtered through the imagination of Madeleine McCarthy, a spirited nine-year-old. Unaware that her father, Jack, is caught up in his own web of secrets, she at first welcomes her family's posting to a sleepy air force base in southern Ontario.

The base, however, is home to some intriguing inhabitants, including the unconventional Froehlich family and the odd Mr. March, whose power over the children is a secret burden that they carry. Then tragedy strikes, and a local murder intersects with global forces, binding the participants for life. As tension in the McCarthy's household builds, Jack must decide where his loyalty lies, and Madeleine learns about the ambiguity of human morality — a lesson that will become clear only when the quest for the truth, and the killer, is renewed twenty years later. (Vintage Canada)

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From the book

If you move around all your life, you can't find where you come from on a map. All those places where you lived are just that: places. You don't come from any of them; you come from a series of events. And those are mapped in memory. Contingent, precarious events, without the counterpane of place to muffle the knowledge of how unlikely we are. Almost not born at every turn. Without a place, events slow-tumbling through time to become your roots. Stories shading into one another. You come from a plane crash. From a war that brought your parents together.

Tell the story, gather the events, repeat them. Pattern is a matter of upkeep. Otherwise the weave relaxes back to threads picked up by birds to make their nests. Repeat, or the story will fall and all the king's horses and all the king's men... Repeat, and cradle the pieces carefully, or events will scatter like marbles on a wooden floor.


From The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald ©2004. Published by Vintage Canada.

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