The River by Tricia Wastvedt

1225818Fiction — print. Penguin, 2005. 325 pgs. Received from another book blogger.

When two children drown on an idyllic summer afternoon in 1958, the community of Cameldip is left haunted by the tragic loss. And parents Isabel and Robert suffer a grief that is as devastating as it is unrelenting. Thirty years later, Anna arrives in Cameldip, fleeing city life and her own disappointments. She does not tell anyone that she is pregnant.

“…you are very young, Sarah. Life is kind and forgiving through your eyes and we all long for a glimpse of the world as you see it.” (pg. 59)

Anna goes to live with Isabel and unwittingly begins to unravel ties of guilt and betrayal held close for many years. When the baby arrives, powerful feelings of loss and heartbreak begin to surface and Anna is forced to ask whether Isabel’s feelings towards the baby are entirely benign.

“And if I run fast enough those hours will not happen, that night will be left behind like the tail of a comet, dust that is lost in the black of nowhere, and I am scorching bright, alive again.” (pg. 37)

I won a copy of Wastvedt’s novel from Kim of Reading Matters. The novel is, at times, brilliant writing regarding description. I loved how Wastvedt captured the river and the village with its inhabitants. And while I had trouble keeping track of all the characters at first, once I got a handle on them I enjoyed how the various threads of the story wove together. Unfortunately, multiple characters acting as the narrator was confusing.

The plot was a mixture of entertainment and boredom but never captivating. And Isabel came across as fake to me on more than one occasion.
The ending was unpredictable, though the whole story was nothing I had expected from reading the blurb about it online. And I felt it was a bit too dramatic.

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