The country of Mary Lawson’s fiction lies 300 miles north of Toronto, where forests and lakes give way here and there to small towns, farms, mines and logging operations. The chief exports are professional ice-hockey players. In winter, temperatures of -40 are unremarkable, as are snowfalls of two or three feet in a single night.
Lawson never lets the reader take comfort in the beauty of such places. Her characters are never safe: a snow plough turns up corpses at the roadside; a house is devoured in a forest fire; a logging truck crushes a family car. A latecomer to fiction,