Books: “A Town Called Solace” by Mary Lawson
Growing up in a small town is tough, especially when that small town is in the middle of nowhere—-an area of Ontario called the Canadian Shield.
Yet “A Town Called Solace,” a new novel by British-Canadian author Mary Lawson, captures small-town life in a way that makes it not only interesting but positively eery.
A young girl, Rose, runs away from her home. Her kid sister Clara, terrified, seeks refuge in the house next door, who is owned by an elderly widow, Mrs. Orchard. Mrs O is currently in the hospital but has a cat Clara feeds daily. Suddenly a strange man shows up at the house and begins packing away Mrs. Orchard’s things. What in the Canadian clear blue sky is going on here?
The tale is told from three POV’s: Clara’s, Mrs. Orchard’s and the strange man’s (his name is Liam). Turns out each of the three has deep dark secrets they’d rather not reveal, but in a small town there are no places to hide.
Mesmerizing, elegant prose, and long-listed for Man Booker in 2020. You’ll read “A Town Called Solace” in one gulp—although like blueberry pie, you’ll wish it lasted forever.