Each month Launch the Book will feature one book written by a self-published author and write a review here, on GoodReads.com and Amazon.com at the end of that month. We will also publicize the review on our social network.
This month’s featured work is The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison. You can find more information on the Facebook Page.
“Urgent, real, and often very funny.”
—James Frey, New York Times bestselling author of Bright Shiny Morning and A Million Little Pieces
Taughnee’s Review of The Banks of Certain Rivers
The Banks of Certain Rivers is the story of Neil Kazenzakis — husband, father, teacher and the everyman we all know — whose life is affected by tragedy when his wife, Wendy, is injured in an accident and left permanently comatose.
The premise is gripping and the writing sure-footed. But, the pace was a bit slow for me in the beginning: bad things happened, then mundane things happened… but how the protagonist was affected by his loss wasn’t right at the surface. See, I was eager to learn how something so painful would transform a person. Where was the overt grief!? The suffering!? How was he able to cope with this?!
He occasionally escaped into the rhythm of running, but otherwise, Neil goes about his daily routine, visits with his neighbor pals, takes good care of his students and his son Christopher, and even takes an easy-going girlfriend on the side (and on the sly, too, as not to upset his son and mother-in-law).
But hang in there. This is not a plot-driven book. Nor is the character development fast and obvious. The story is layered, and as it evolves, Neil’s character is developed deeply. Through subtle habits and reactions to life’s twists and turns, we see that Neil is like us: he is flawed, he is loving, he is honorable. The story is real and human, and its pace is just like the pace and rhythm of life. We suffer, carry on, fall apart, we cope — often in silent and deep, soft ways. Ultimately, this is a very touching and satisfying read.
I loved this story, and I look forward to reading more of Harrison’s work.
If you would like to nominate a book for the spotlight, drop an email to Taughnee with the subject line INDIE AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT NOMINATION.