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A Town Called Solace: ‘Will break your heart’ Graham Norton

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Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, moves into the house next door – a house left to him by an old woman he can barely remember — and within hours gets a visit from the police. Twelve days ago, the rebellious 16-year-old daughter, Rose, ran away from home, and no one has heard a word from her since.

It is forbidden to copy anything for publication elsewhere without written permission from the copyright holder. New York Times best-selling author Mary Lawson, acclaimed for digging into the “wilderness of the human heart”, is back after almost a decade with a fresh and timely novel that is different in subject but just as emotional and atmospheric as her beloved earlier work. If anything, he’s irritated by her presence but tries to be polite, and she is not looking for a helpful, avuncular presence next door. There’s not enough humour in contemporary fiction but Power brought the laughs and the pathos to this account of a young Dubliner, reared with privilege, who gets involved in a dodgy land deal in the Balkans.I’m betting you’d enjoy Crow Lake in particular because it’s a coming-of-age story with a strong sense of place (and it’s watery, but near-north Ontario, so not the kind of watery that you’re inhabiting (which is more water-starved now, I suppose *sigh*). She als He's never quite been able to connect with people: "It was as if there were a river, not wide but dark and deep, between himself and others, and he'd never figured out how to cross it. I like a novel to grab me and The Book of Form and Emptiness (Canongate) by Ruth Ozeki gave me very peculiar dreams for a long time, as though it did not want to release me to other things. Robert Fulford of the National Post wrote an article about Lawson describing her process towards becoming a novelist.

The Booker’s globe-spanning lineup moves from Sri Lankan author Anuk Arudpragasam’s A Passage North, in which Krishan travels from Colombo to the war-torn Northern Province for a funeral, to the twice Booker-shortlisted author Damon Galgut’s The Promise. Liam has moved into the house – left to him by Mrs Orchard – following a bitter breakup and quitting his accounting job in Toronto.The rigorous questioning of nation and identity, given my incessant preoccupations, made it a truly therapeutic literary meal. Liam, an unhappy man at a crossroads in his life has his own memories, mostly of a sad childhood, until some beautiful memories surface when he comes to Solace. We have a much smaller population here, of course, and in the USA I imagine all the states and counties are setting their own procedures. With a psychology degree in hand from McGill University, Lawson took a trip to Britain and ended up accepting a job as an industrial psychologist. Elizabeth Orchard, a Primary teacher who was unable to have children, befriends Liam, the small boy from next door.

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