Winner, IPPY Award for Best First Book - Fiction and Margaret and John Savage First Book Award for Fiction
Runner-up, Leacock Medal for Humour
Shortlisted, Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award and Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Literary Fiction
When Stacey Fortune is diagnosed with three highly unpredictable — and inoperable — brain tumours, she abandons the crumbling glamour of her life in Toronto for her mother Effie's scruffy trailer in rural Cape Breton. Back home, she's known as Crow, and everybody suspects that her family is cursed.
With her future all but sealed, Crow decides to go down in a blaze of unforgettable glory by writing a memoir that will raise eyebrows and drop jaws. She'll dig up "the dirt" on her family tree, including the supposed curse, and uncover the truth about her mysterious father, who disappeared a month before she was born.
But first, Crow must contend with an eclectic assortment of characters, including her gossipy Aunt Peggy, hedonistic party-pal Char, homebound best friend Allie, and high-school flame Willy. She'll also have to figure out how to live with her mother and how to muddle through the unsettling visual disturbances that are becoming more and more vivid each day.
Witty, energetic, and crackling with sharp Cape Breton humour, Crow is a story of big twists, big personalities, big drama, and even bigger heart.
"I think Crow is great. It depicts a side of Cape Breton populated by characters that are flawed and achingly real. It's poignant and funny."
"Tender, raw, and compassionate, Crow tackles the life-changing events thrown at her and muscles them down to her control, leaving readers breathless in the face of her honesty and hard-earned truths."
"Amy Spurway catches perfectly the engine that is Cape Breton Island. Her cast of divine lunatics, pogey-scammers, gossips, and big-hearted rebels, revealed through Spurway's lively and lucid prose, proves that Cape Breton is still the thought-control centre of Canada."
"Amy Spurway comes out swinging with this raw, unflinching, and emotionally urgent debut novel. Be forewarned, Crow is as empowering and comic as it is unsettling and disarming. I love it."
"Spurway's use of language is skilful, making the novel highly readable. Crow is ribald, blunt, accessible, and immediately likeable, tumours and all . . . You know how people say, "You'll laugh, you'll cry"? You will. And you will."
"How can you resolve the sharpness of tragedy into a fairy-tale ending? Somehow, Spurway manages it. But even if she lays the sentimentality on pretty thick, she also proves even a Crow's laughter can be pretty infectious."
"Crow delighted me and amazed me the further I read, with its freshness, its daring, its refusal to conform (and the projectile vomiting)."
"Angry, petty, disillusioned, sharp-tongued, battered and bruised by the years, prone to snap decisions and judgments, and yet not a little scared of dying at 40, she's a complex and contradictory figure whose narrating tones relay very human traits — fallibility and indomitability, blindness and insight — via homespun, salty language."