An Eye-Popping Debut

The chaotic highs and lows of returning home

In the annals of plucky female ­protagonists, Crow Fortune is certainly the most profane. The heroine of Amy Spurway’s quirky debut novel, simply entitled Crow, is a trash-­talking, hard-­drinking train wreck of a woman who has gone home to die after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Without much regret, she abandons her life in Toronto — a mediocre marketing career, an overpriced condo, and a fiancé whom she catches giving a blow job to his boss — and moves back into her mother’s scruffy trailer, on a scraggly lot on the wrong side of the tracks on Cape Breton Island. After twenty years away, Crow decides to use the time she has left to uncover the truth about her father, who went missing before she was born, and to write a memoir about the long line of lunatics and criminals who make up her family and friends.

What follows is a kamikaze trip down memory lane as Crow, between technicolour...