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 by Ann-Marie MacDonald
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 736 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2004, 752 pages

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Book Summary

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.

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 ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

People

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

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.

BookPage

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

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.

David polk

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

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!

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