Follow the River Home by Corran Harrington
Arbor Farm Press: 4/28/16
advanced reading copy; 220 pages
Follow the River Home by Corran Harrington is a touching,
melancholic collection told in a poetic and lyrical manner. It is
highly recommended. The first part of Follow the River Home is a novella, while the second part contains supporting short pieces. The setting is in New Mexico along the Rio Grande.
In the novella, we are introduced to Daniel Arroyo. Daniel has guilt, a
lifetime of guilt. First he feels he is somehow responsible for the
death of his baby sister, Carmen, when he was eight. We don't know what
happened, but we know Daniel feels guilty and culpable. The tragedy
altered his family as well. When, later, he is drafted and sent to
Vietnam, he comes home with PTSD, while a childhood friend dies over
there. Now, thirty years later, he is still tormented by nightmares from
the war and his sister's death. His wife and children are tired of it
and he is searching for some redemption from his anguish.
The stories in the second part of the collection provide additional
glimpses of Daniel's life and of others who lived in the home. Some of
the stories are told through certain pieces of furniture in the house in
relationship to the families who have owned them and their
surroundings. Taken as a whole, these supporting pieces create a
scaffolding to show a more complete accounting of Daniel's life.
Daniel's fear and guilt is overwhelming; the answers to his questions
may be found in his old neighborhood.
The quality of the writing sets this collection apart. Even when dealing
with dark themes, like PTSD and flashbacks, Harrington describes what
Daniel is experiencing and the anguish it is causing him and his family.
The sudden, abrupt shift to the supporting stories in the second half
of the book may be a bit disconcerting to some readers who are expecting
a smooth continuation of Daniel's story.
Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this
book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes.
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