Book Review: The River by Tricia Wastvedt (DNF)
June 26, 2013 10 Comments
The publisher says: “In 1958, in a small Devon village, on an idyllic summer afternoon, two children are drowned. Their parents, Isabel and Robert, are overcome with grief but, as time passes, their tragedy becomes part of the everyday fabric of village life.
One summer’s day, thirty years later, Anna arrives. She comes to the village on a whim, hoping to start afresh – and, without telling anyone she is pregnant, goes to live with Isabel. For a time the women find solace in each other’s company, but the baby’s arrival causes powerful feelings of loss and heartbreak to surface, and Anna must question whether Isabel’s feelings towards her child are entirely benign. . .“
The River: What I thought
Unfortunately, I didn’t finish this book.
It was very well written. Each scene didn’t need many words to give an impression of the scenery and atmosphere.
The book changed scenes quite often and that was the reason I didn’t enjoy the story so much. We go from 1958 to 1946, to 1987 and 1930, and so on. I prefer a story that, when it looks back at the past, does so in a sequential way: first the furthest past and working towards the present. So, that was something I didn’t like about the book.
In addition, the protagonists differ in each of these scenes. While these people do appear throughout the book, they are focused on as protagonists only some of the time. So, a scene set in 1958 may focus on Isabel and Robert, then later in the book, we find them again as protagonists in 1987, while other scenes have other protagonists in 1958. I found it confusing, and also I didn’t feel close to any of the characters this way.
An attentive reader may enjoy linking up the individual stories and end up with the history of a number of people in the same village, but it didn’t work for me.
There was also not one person or story line that hooked me into reading further. The beautiful language and the atmosphere of the book kept me going for a while, but at 120 pages, I didn’t feel compelled to keep reading.
A more patient reader who enjoyes good literary fiction will probably enjoy this book a lot.
Rating: Did Not Finish
Number of pages: 346 (I read 120)
First published: 2004
I got this: win from Nat at In Spring it is the Dawn blog
Genre: literary fiction