Monday, July 31, 2023

The Theory of Crows by David A. Robertson

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.

Paperback, 308 pages
Published September 13, 2022 
by Harper Perennial
4.5/5 stars

This is my first time reading a David A. Robertson book, it's one of those books that came highly recommended. I had the privilege of meeting him last year at the Eden Mills Writers Festival.

The Theory of Crows tells the story of a family going through a tough time. The father is troubled, struggling with grief, guilt over his estrangement from his only daughter. Holly, the teen daughter is angry at her father while also mourning the loss of her beloved grandfather.

Reading this book was an emotional experience. As the characters come to terms with the loss of their father and grandfather, it becomes a journey of self-discovery for both of them while exploring the complexities of family relationships. The story emphasizes the importance of family bonding because we don't know what tomorrow brings. I particularly enjoyed reading about the Cree heritage and how it played a significant role in this family's life. The journey that Matthew and Holly embark on becomes a way for them to work through their grief and reconnect with each other and the natural world.

The Theory of  Crows is a moving story that delves into family dynamics, healing, and learning more about Canadian history. I appreciate how the author incorporated letters that Matthew wrote for his daughter, which added an authentic touch to his character and showed his emotional depth and connection with his own father.  

The author also has a series of  MG/Teen books that I hope to read next month.

This book was part of my 2023 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge

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