2000 Crown (first published in 1999)
Finished on May 5, 2000
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
Canadian best-selling author David Macfarlane has written a masterful first novel about love experienced and love remembered that flickers with fleeting passions and sudden tragedies, offering an elegy not only for the ephemeral beauty of northern summers but for an entire era.
Summer Gone is about that moment when everything stops. Like skilled canoeists, we briefly hold a perfect balance -- poised between innocence and experience, life and death, discovery and loss, the promise of spring and the melancholy of autumn.
Set among the islands and lakes of "cottage country," this beautifully crafted novel from one of Canada's premier writers explores the stories of three generations of lost summers: the girl in the blue bathing suit; the impenetrable and doomed camp counselor with the shifting features; the wife who comes alive to the rhythms of a cottage summer, wild blueberries, and lake gossip, though who remains blind to the secret that will change her life irrevocably. But the beating heart of this novel lies in the story of a divorced father and a young son separated by the silence of estrangement, and how during one extraordinary night on an ill-fated canoe trip the silence is broken. As the story unfolds and the mystery unravels, tragedy looms over father and son in ways they could never have imagined, and leads to the novel's gripping and startling conclusion.
Graced by a spare beauty of language and a deeply humane intelligence and wit, Summer Gone is an exquisite novel.
My Original Thoughts (2000):
Not the easiest book to follow. Flashbacks overlap, leaving me confused as to which of the characters the author is referring to. I wasn't sure if I even liked what I was reading until I got a handle on the transitions (or lack there of) and then I began to see the beauty in MacFarlane's passages. His writing is very lyrical and it stirred a longing in me for a cottage on a lake with a canoe on the shore.
My Current Thoughts:
In spite of my high rating, I don't remember this book and doubt I'll read it again, given the struggle I had with the flashbacks and transitions. I don't have the patience to wade through something like this anymore.