Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Trembling River

Trembling River by Andrée A. Michaud
translated by J. C. Sutcliffe
2/7/23; 416 pages
House of Anansi Press

Trembling River by Andrée A. Michaud, translated by J. C. Sutcliffe is a highly recommended mystery and explores the heartbreaking disappearance of three children.

In August 1979 twelve-year-old Michael disappears in the woods of Trembling River while with his friend Marnie Duchamp. A search only came up with a muddy sneaker. The disappearance of her friend has haunted Marnie ever since it happened. Thirty years later Billie Richards never makes it to her dance class and disappears just before her ninth birthday. Her father Bill, a children's book author, is devastated and falls into a deep inconsolable state of grief and mourning. Neither knows that another child will disappear from the village of Trembling River.

The writing is exquisite and captures the anguish, mourning, guilt, and even anger while Marnie and Bill attempt to somehow comprehend their loss. Marnie constantly questions what she could have done to prevent Michael's disappearance. Bill is despondent and struggles with his mental health. Understandably, he is heartbroken and can't comprehend a life without his beloved daughter.

The structure of the novel is divided into three parts but these parts are written with no chapters. The narrative switches between viewpoints and readers are expected to follow who is speaking. This can be a bit off-putting, especially in the second part when the novel delves into lengthy and very emotional interior monologues from Marnie and Bill. I'm not a fan of protracted stream-of-consciousness passages, so this was a bit of a struggle to get through, although it is highly distressed and heartbreaking. Then, when tragedy strikes again and another child disappears, the mystery and heartbreak deepens.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of House of Anansi Press via NetGalley.

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