Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Book Review: Genre: River of Heaven

Genre:  Literature & Fiction
Author: Lee Martin
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Over the last few months my time spent reading has fallen off dramatically. I have struggled to find the time to read and struggled to get through the very few books I have read. Over the past two months I have purchased about 20 books which are stacked up on a table and which I haven't even looked at since they were brought home from the bookstore. For someone who reads and enjoys reading as much as I do it has seemed very strange.

But, perhaps it has simply been the books I have been buying and attempting to read that has been the problem more then anything else because when I find a good one I seem to have no problem finding the time to read or in enjoying it and I completely enjoyed Lee Martin's River of Heaven, one of those wonderful treats that is hard to put down.

Martin writes the kind of books you find yourself wishing that you had written while knowing deep down that you are nowhere smart enough to do so. Through the various twists and turns of this wonderful book I fund myself thinking 'how did he think ahead to put that little tidbit into the story?' and there are a half dozen of those little tidbits woven into the fabric of this book which make it such a marvelous read.

Dan Shapiro says:

"In River of Heaven, Lee Martin has created that rare thing: a literary page-turner. This is a story about the corrosive power of a childhood secret, and the way our lives are shaped as much by what we withold as what we reveal. An elegantly structured, powerful and original novel, full of heart.”

"Past and present collide in Lee Martin's highly anticipated novel of a
 man. his brother, and the dark secret that both connects and divides them. Haunting and beautifully wrought, River of Heaven weaves a story of love and loss, confession and redemption, and the mystery buried with a boy named Dewey Finn.

On an April evening in 1955, Dewey died on the railway tracks outside Mt. Gilead, Illinois, and the mystery of his death still confounds the people of this small town.

River of Heaven begins some fifty years later and centers on the story of Dewey's boyhood friend Sam Brady, whose solitary adult life is much formed by what really went on in the days leading up to that evening at the tracks. It's a story he'd do anything to keep from telling, but when his brother, Cal, returns to Mt. Gilead after decades of self-exile, it threatens to come to the surface." (From inside fly leaf)

“Few writers could unfold Sam’s history with the grace and compassion of Lee Martin. River of Heaven is a wise and humane novel, a story of cowardice and courage and the torturous path between them.” —Kathryn Harrison

(Originally posted to Multiply July 16, 2008)

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