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The Theory of Crows

by David A. Robertson

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403625,215 (4)2
A poignant and evocative novel about the bonds of family and the gifts offered by the land When a troubled father and his estranged teenage daughter head out onto the land in search of the family trapline, they find their way back to themselves, and to each other Deep in the night, Matthew paces the house, unable to rest. Though his sixteen-year-old daughter, Holly, lies sleeping on the other side of the bedroom door, she is light years away from him. How can he bridge the gap between them when he can't shake the emptiness he feels inside? Holly knows her father is drifting further from her; what she doesn't understand is why. Could it be her fault that he seems intent on throwing everything away, including their relationship? Following a devastating tragedy, Matthew and Holly head out onto the land in search of a long-lost cabin on the family trapline, miles from the Cree community they once called home. But each of them is searching for something more than a place. Matthew hopes to reconnect with the father he has just lost; Holly goes with him because she knows the father she is afraid of losing won't be able to walk away. When things go wrong during the journey, they find they have only each other to turn to for support. What happens to father and daughter on the land will test them, and eventually heal them, in ways they never thought possible.… (more)
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Hats off to the producers of this audiobook. It was an inspired choice to have the author read the parts of the novel that were written as letters from the father to the daughter. I'm sure I would have liked the book if I had read it in print but sometimes hearing the narration, especially when it is done by the author, just adds extra to the experience.

Holly is a 16 year old Indigenous girl living in Winnipeg with her mother and father. She and her father, Matthew, used to be close when she was young but they've grown apart. Matthew has anxiety issues and he is also carrying on a flirtation with a co-worker so he isn't as present for Holly as he should be. Holly, in addition to being a teenage girl, has discovered this affair and she's so angry with her father. Ironically, the catalyst for healing their relationship is the sudden death of Moshom, Matthew's father. Matthew decides he needs to honour his father's wish to return to the trap line north of Norway House where he grew up. He decides to take some of his father's ashes there. When Holly learns of this plan she says she wants to go with him. This trip could have gone either way but it ends up bringing the father and daughter close together.

The description of the canoe trip the pair take is the highlight of the book. The land, the water, the skies and the wildlife are beautifully rendered. Robertson comes from this area and it is obvious he loves it. I suspect this will be one of my best books of 2024. ( )
  gypsysmom | Jan 26, 2024 |
I quite enjoyed this novel. It's pretty much a straightforward general fiction novel with an indigenous element to it that was never heavy-handed.

I can't give it a full five stars only because there's certain elements that felt a little too easy or too predictable. Matthew's relatively easy cessation of his emotional affair with a co-worker. His reparation of his relationship with both his wife and daughter.

And, while I loved the ending, it also felt a touch too obvious.

Having said that, none of this ever really intruded on my enjoyment of this novel. It's very good and, at times, though it's likely a cliché, his writing had hints of Wagamese, which is a good thing. ( )
  TobinElliott | Oct 30, 2023 |
I wish the characters are more consistently likeable. I liked the story line but at times, the people just were not very nice people, especially Hallelujah. ( )
  alizarin | Nov 4, 2022 |
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A poignant and evocative novel about the bonds of family and the gifts offered by the land When a troubled father and his estranged teenage daughter head out onto the land in search of the family trapline, they find their way back to themselves, and to each other Deep in the night, Matthew paces the house, unable to rest. Though his sixteen-year-old daughter, Holly, lies sleeping on the other side of the bedroom door, she is light years away from him. How can he bridge the gap between them when he can't shake the emptiness he feels inside? Holly knows her father is drifting further from her; what she doesn't understand is why. Could it be her fault that he seems intent on throwing everything away, including their relationship? Following a devastating tragedy, Matthew and Holly head out onto the land in search of a long-lost cabin on the family trapline, miles from the Cree community they once called home. But each of them is searching for something more than a place. Matthew hopes to reconnect with the father he has just lost; Holly goes with him because she knows the father she is afraid of losing won't be able to walk away. When things go wrong during the journey, they find they have only each other to turn to for support. What happens to father and daughter on the land will test them, and eventually heal them, in ways they never thought possible.

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