Crow Lake is that rare find, a first novel so quietly assured, so compelling, and with an emotional charge so perfectly controlled, that you sense at once that this is the real thing - a literary experience to relish, a book to lose yourself in, and a name to watch. Here is a gorgeous, slowburning story of families growing up and tearing each other apart in rural Northern Ontario, where tragedy and hardship are mirrored in the landscape. Centre stage are the Morrisons whose tragedy is insidious and divisive. Orphaned young, Kate Morrison was her older brother Matt's protegee, her curious fascination for pond-life fed by his passionate interest in the natural world. Now a zoologist, she can identify organisms under a microscope, but seems blind to the tragedy of her own emotional life. She thinks she's outgrown her family, who were once her entire world - but she can't seem to outgrow her childhood or lighten the weight of their mutual past.