Review Blog

May 04 2008

Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2008
(Age 13+) A generation before, Odella's mother was the sole survivor of a car crash through the ice on Mistik Lake. Now the whole story comes to a climax, after Odella's mother is killed in Iceland, following her abandonment of her family, and Odella meets the son of her aunt's childhood friend, Violet. All are connected by the childhoods at Mistik Lake and the dream of flying fish. The characters in this engrossing story live in or near Winnipeg, and some are the descendants of Icelandic people who migrated to Canada in the mid nineteenth century. Some of their strength and life values seep through to the new generations.

Odella takes the role of her mother after she leaves and so is bound up with the family, but meeting Jimmy makes her aware that she has a life to lead as well. Living with him one summer at Mistik Lake brings the story to a resolution as she learns of her past and why her mother was so disturbed. An absorbing story redolent of the cold raw lives in Canada's interior and suffused with the Icelandic heritage, Mistik Lake will absorb the attentions of older female readers, and its brevity will be most attractive to those who want a thin book.
Fran Knight

Comment:
Mistik Lake won the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year. It is a totally engrossing book with wonderful characters and the lakeside setting is beautiful. Highly recommended.
Pat Pledger

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