The Other Side of the Bridge

The Other Side of the Bridge

Book - 2006
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Random House, Inc.
From the author of the beloved #1 national bestseller Crow Lake comes an exceptional new novel of jealously, rivalry and the dangerous power of obsession.

Two brothers, Arthur and Jake Dunn, are the sons of a farmer in the mid-1930s, when life is tough and another world war is looming. Arthur is reticent, solid, dutiful and set to inherit the farm and his father’s character; Jake is younger, attractive, mercurial and dangerous to know – the family misfit. When a beautiful young woman comes into the community, the fragile balance of sibling rivalry tips over the edge.

Then there is Ian, the family’s next generation, and far too sure he knows the difference between right and wrong. By now it is the fifties, and the world has changed – a little, but not enough.

These two generations in the small town of Struan, Ontario, are tragically interlocked, linked by fate and community but separated by a war which devours its young men – its unimaginable horror reaching right into the heart of this remote corner of an empire. With her astonishing ability to turn the ratchet of tension slowly and delicately, Lawson builds their story to a shocking climax. Taut with apprehension, surprising us with moments of tenderness and humour, The Other Side of the Bridge is a compelling, humane and vividly evoked novel with an irresistible emotional undertow.

Arthur found himself staring down at the knife embedded in his foot. There was a surreal split second before the blood started to well up and then up it came, dark and thick as syrup.

Arthur looked at Jake and saw that he was staring at the knife. His expression was one of surprise, and this was something that Arthur wondered about later too. Was Jake surprised because he had never considered the possibility that he might be a less than perfect shot? Did he have that much confidence in himself, that little self-doubt?

Or was he merely surprised at how easy it was to give in to an impulse, and carry through the thought which lay in your mind? Simply to do whatever you wanted to do, and damn the consequences.

–from The Other Side of the Bridge

Baker & Taylor
The troubled relationship between two brothers--Arthur Dunn, the dutiful eldest son, and the mercurial, dangerous Jake--escalates when they are both drawn to a beautiful young woman, until Jake vanishes, only to reappear fifteen years later when Ian, a young man obsessed with Arthur's wife, becomes a catalyst for tragedy. 75,000 first printing.

& Taylor

The troubled relationship between two brothers--Arthur Dunn, the dutiful eldest son, and the mercurial, dangerous Jake--escalates when they are both drawn to a beautiful young woman.

Publisher: New York : Dial Press, 2006
ISBN: 9780385340373
Branch Call Number: FICTION LAWSON
Characteristics: 296 p.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

The author could have used more skill to draw the reader in, but once the story unfolds we realize that this is truly a Canadian literary gem. It is a Cane and Able story of brothers who are so different they cannot love each other. The bridge is of course a metaphor for the life changing events in everyone's adolescence that underpin the direction of our early adult life.
The book is superbly researched and nuances of life for an country doctor, and for farmers in Ontario during WWII are depicted with a methodical nonchalance. The book is emotionally fraught but so profound.

Oct 26, 2016

Very good. Our Book Club liked this better than Lawson's award-winning "Crow Lake".

Nov 15, 2015

I absolutely loved reading this book. I savoured each and every chapter as the story unfolded. The writing style is so refreshing -it is clean, clear and captivating. A definite must read!

sydniec Mar 06, 2015

great read. the characters felt like people I had know all my life and the bonus is the book is set in northern Ontario. a good story of life in the 1930's to 1960.

Feb 07, 2015

Absolutely excellent - compelling, interesting, well-written, memorable characters - so, in other words, just as great as her other books! There's just one problem with her books: they end. I never want them to end!

Oct 11, 2014

A poignant, compelling book that brought me to tears. This one is more tragic than Mary Lawson's 3rd book, Road Ends, but both are equally excellent reads. Both are even better than Crow Lake.

Apr 17, 2014

This was a beautifully told story with an excellent ending. I loved the characters and the writing. One of my favourites

Mar 06, 2014

I really enjoyed this book even though there are some truly awful things that happen in it. Alternating between the story of two brothers during WWII and of a doctor's son in the 1960's, this story lures us into the northern Ontario town of Struan and the age-old themes of love, hate, duty, family. Woven through the undercurrents of the relationships between the various characters is the pull of the environment, of the lake, of nature, of oneness with all life. As you read you know there are big events at play but you also know that life goes on, that there is continuity, that all is not bad or good but just life. Mary Lawson did a good job.

Jul 22, 2012

Read 2010

May 29, 2012

Took me a while to get into, but I ended up loving this book. You get emotionally attached to the characters. I cried.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Nov 26, 2009

swisspurple thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at ELPL

To Top