Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie…

The Way the Crow Flies (edition 2003)

by Ann-Marie MacDonald

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,866543,704 (4.06)66
Title:The Way the Crow Flies
Authors:Ann-Marie MacDonald
Info:Harper (2003), Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 66 mentions

English (51)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
It took me 16 years after having read Ann-Marie MacDonald's first novel to read her second. What a waste of time! The Way the Crow Flies is a brilliant novel that moved me both to laughter and to tears. It is a brickstone of a novel, but I didn't look forward to leaving the characters that I had learned to understand and empathize with over the cause of more than 700 pages. The novel is marketed as a crime story, but this is nothing like the crime novels you'll pick up in a hurry at airports. The story of nine-year old Madeleine and her family and friends and foes on the air force base in Canada in the early 19060s is an emotional study of people of our time, how small events can turn life on its head, but also how fundalmental events can be pushed down into the unconscious, at least for a while. The characters are so well drawn that it feels incolceivable that they are not real people. I know the novel is both based on real events and on the author's own upbringing, but that does not take away from the feat of creating characters of flesh and blood. I am particularly impressed by how the children's characters are made believable. The novel's two parts are very different but equally good. My only minor complaint is that the first part of the book is a bit uneventful, but in no way less readable. MacDonald wants to draw us completely into this world before she really begins to make things happen. Why MacDonald's books have not reached a wider audience outside North America is beyond belief. ( )
  petterw | Mar 23, 2016 |
I put this book down after getting about one-fifth of the way through. Interminable descriptions of conversations, scenes, people, all for what? I was also turned off by a generous scattering of french phrases thrown in everywhere, which of course I couldn't understand. Maybe someone who has a lot of time to read would like this book better. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
Precocious, smart and funny 9-year old Madeleine is not prepared for the series of events that occur on the Canadian air force base of Centralia in early 60's. No one could have anticipated what would happen. Many years later Madeleine is able to figure out what actually occurred.

Her father Jack has been transferred back to Canada after having been posted in Germany which he, his beautiful Acadian wife Mimi, older son Mike and Madeleine, his “old buddy” loved. Jack had history in Centralia: it was here he learned to fly, and then nearly died in a freak accident, ending his piloting career. At that time he was simply an angry young man but years later he realized the accident probably saved his life because many of the pilots who did fly never made it home alive.

MacDonald creates strong settings that feel familiar. The timing and pacing are amazing, i.e. Jack being seen in the phone booth by Boucher, the time when Jack waved to Ricky on that fateful day. The dialogue stands out as well because it is so normal and mediocre until you listen to the underlying nuances.

Innocence and guilt are major themes in The Way the Crow Flies. It seems the girls who remain in class after 3pm protect their parents’ “all’s right with our world” innocence by not telling them about Mr. March. It definitely takes a village to raise a child but the adults on the base were naïve about their children’s lives. Most were good, well-meaning parents pre-occupied with the minutia of life. They simply did not worry about their children. Claire, Grace and Ricky are all innocent but left unprotected.

And then there are Jack and Simon. Both are smart and committed to the Canadian Air Force; trained to be loyal cogs and do “their jobs.” (We all know who else were just doing their jobs during WWII!) Pressured by Simon, Jack is forced to make a difficult decision which negatively impacts him, his family, Ricky and his family.

The novel’s main plot is where guilt comes in. What was the moral cost of ramping up the space program in Canada and the US with mass murderers? The US invited nazi scientists in but didn’t allow many Jews from Europe safe haven during the war when our government knew these Jews would face certain death!

Outstanding and substantial novel with much to think about. ( )
1 vote Bookish59 | Dec 19, 2014 |
I enjoyed this novel so much that it makes me rethink others that I rated as a 4.5 or 5 out of 5. The story is familiar in so many ways. It's easy to appreciate how much mind and soul searching the author must have engaged in to bring out all of those long ago, seemingly insignificant feelings and internal dialogues that we all have in our pre-adolescent years. Its really unfairto try to make a few comments on the book and think that I have done it justice. There is alot to enjoy in hearing the thoughts of an 8 year old growing up in the 1960's. Its just a whole dose of reminiscence of the greatest part of my life, as well as many others.
Ms. MacDonald portrays a childs attempt to relate to and make sense of what she sees and hears all day long in such a way as to satisfy her own need for safety along with a sense of belonging, not only in her family but in her peer group and social structure. But even when this ideal is threatened, the author shows how we are able to take the violations of life in stride, encapsulate them, store them away and continue our journey. But she also reveals, clearly and in detail, how those issues that we 'handled' so smoothly in childhood remain alive, and eventually resurface and demand to be heard.
The story weaves together how our family, friends, and even authority figures play a role in the stability of our entire lives, not just the few years we spent as a child. How the leaders and protectors all seem to justify the small inconsistecies and red flags they notice in our life and the cost of not being what we considered at the time as over-protective, believing that monsters do NOT exist. The book shows how much we, as a society, have become aware that monsters really do exist and how the norms for social interraction have changed considerably in light of that truth.
If I would have read a synopsis of this book before I began to read, I would certainly have passed it by because I really do not like to dwell on the perversions that sometimes seem to surround all of us, but as it turns out, I am very happy to have read this book and will reread some of the parts again and again. Some parts are so profound, thought-provoking, and written with such grace that it is a pleasure to read those few paragraphs and pause to just ponder its meaning. ( )
  pife43 | Jul 23, 2014 |
A great window into our recent history. A complete novel with great characters, plot and mystery. ( )
  cmasson17 | Dec 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
We are doomed to choose, and every choice
may entail an irreparable loss.
-- Isaiah Berlin
For Mac and Lillian
So many "remember whens"
First words
The birds saw the murder.
The sun came out after the war and our world went Technicolor.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
For Madeine 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 Froelich family, and the odd Mr. March whose power over the children is a secret burden that they carry.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060586370, Paperback)

The Way the Crow Flies, Ann-Marie MacDonald's follow-up novel to her bestselling debut (and Oprah Book Club pick), Fall on Your Knees, opens in 1962 when the McCarthy family moves from Germany to their new home on a Canadian air force base near London, Ontario. Madeleine, eight and already a blossoming comic, is particularly close with her father, Jack, an air force officer. Her loving Acadian mother, Mimi, and older brother Mike round out this family, whose simple goodness reflects the glow of an era that seemed like paradise. But all that is about to change. The Cuban Missile Crisis is looming, and Jack, loyal and gullible, suddenly has an important task to carry out that involves a scientist--a former Nazi--in Canada.

While Jack scrambles to keep his activities hidden from his wife, Madeleine too is learning to keep secrets (about a teacher at school). The Way the Crow Flies is all about the fertility of lies, how one breeds another and another. Although the writing flows with a strong current, the profusion of pop references, especially ad slogans, grows tiresome. The author can, however, capture a lovely image in few words: "The afternoon intensifies. August is the true light of summer" and "yes, the earth is a woman, and her favorite food is corn." At times the story is marvelously compelling, as the mystery of a horrific murder in the fields near the base is unravelled. When events lead to a trial and its outcome, the story peaks, in a conclusion with no easy answers. The last third of the book takes place, for the most part, 20 years later. Here the novel meanders somewhat, losing its ability to captivate with the same intensity. The reader longs to return to the earlier world, which MacDonald has captured in vital detail. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:19 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Twenty years after her early-1960s-military father is forced to choose between loyalties in the wake of a local murder, Madeleine begins to understand the case's implication and launches a search for the killer.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
66 avail.
20 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.06)
0.5 1
1 4
1.5 2
2 20
2.5 9
3 65
3.5 34
4 167
4.5 40
5 167

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 107,460,521 books! | Top bar: Always visible