Summary and book reviews of The Way The Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald

The Way The Crow Flies

By Ann-Marie MacDonald

The Way The Crow Flies
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Sep 2003,
    736 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2004,
    752 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

In her highly anticipated new novel, Ann-Marie MacDonald takes us back to a postwar world. 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 family and unaware that her father, Jack, is caught up in his own web of secrets. The early sixties, a time of optimism infused with the excitement of the space race and overshadowed by the menace of the Cold War, is filtered through the rich imagination of a child as Madeleine draws us into her world.

But the base is host 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 very local murder intersects with global forces, binding the participants for life. As the tension in the McCarthys' household builds, Jack must decide where his loyalties lie, 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.

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 humor of childhood in a perilous adult world. At once a loving portrayal and indictment of an era, The Way the Crow Flies is a work of great heart and soaring intelligence.

Chapter One
Many-Splendoured Things

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

It is possible, in 1962, for a drive to be the highlight of a family week. King of the road, behind the wheel on four steel-belted tires, the sky's the limit. Let's just drive, we'll find out where we're going when we get there. How many more miles, Dad?

Roads are endless vistas, city gives way to country barely mediated by suburbs. Suburbs are the best of both worlds, all you need is a car and the world is your oyster, your Edsel, your Chrysler, your Ford. Trust Texaco. Traffic is not what it will be, what's more, it's still pretty neat. There's a '53 Studebaker Coupe! -- oh look, there's the new Thunderbird ...

"'This land is your land, this land is my land ... '" A moving automobile is second only to the shower when it comes to singing, the miles fly by, the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Book Description

For Madeline 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 base is host 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.

Soon after the McCarthy's move tragedy strikes, and a very local murder intersects with global forces, binding the participants for life. As the tension builds, Jack must decide where his loyalties lie, and Madeleine learns about the ambiguity of human ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews
BookPage

Beautifully rendered … Characters are painstakingly drawn and the multiple plots are meticulously tied together from the opening pages to the last… Stunning.

Entertainment Weekly

By incorporating the epic history of the Cold War and the space race into an otherwise tightly focused story, MacDonald brings a tumultuous time palpably to life.

San Diego Union-Tribune

Rich and complex … hard to put down … MacDonald deserves another prize for The Way The Crow Flies.

The Washington Post - Patrick Anderson

...a brilliant portrayal of child abuse and its consequences.....it is not only beautifully written; it is equally beautiful in its conception, its compassion, its wisdom, even in its anger and pain. Don't miss it.

People

Astonishing in its depth and breath, it artfully weaves one family’s struggles into the fabric of the Cold War.

Kirkus Reviews

Strained at times, but, still, a grand, sweeping saga.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. ... a powerful story, delicately layered with complex secrets, told with a masterful command of narrative and a strong moral message.

Booklist

Starred Review. MacDonald’s most impressive accomplishment is her uncanny ability … to vividly re-create the wonder, humor, and fears of childhood.

Reader Reviews
Buffy

The Way the Crow Flies
A must read! The book is so well written you can hear & smell every part of it. The book club I belong to is a group of all different ages & backgrounds and the book was loved by all.

Mary

I am 17 and I loved, The Way the Crow Flies. It is full of life and understanding, yet has a drastic outlook on the war and the love that surrounds the family and new neighbors. Incredible read!

David polk

Do yourself a favour and read this wonderful and disturbing book.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Way The Crow Flies, try these:

  • My Sister's Keeper jacket

    My Sister's Keeper

    by Jodi Picoult

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    The emotionally riveting story of a family torn apart by conflicting needs and a passionate love that triumphs over human weakness.

  • Room jacket

    Room

    by Emma Donoghue

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

    Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  158The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.