Yesterday's River by Sean McDevitt - feath

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Yesterday's River
by Sean McDevitt

4 star


Get in a canoe, launch yourself from the shore of a marsh, and let the water take you were it wants. But the water is your mind, and the currents are your memories, twisted and dark, bright and clear. Occasionally, put your paddle in, glide right, not left. But you find yourself somehow back where you didn't want to go.
The book could have been called Stream of Conscience without losing any of the context.
I once read a book written in the traditional American Indian way. I had to have the author explain to me how it works. In written form, American Indian stories don't have ...time. Chronological time. Imagine putting the chapters on index cards, throwing them in the air, and re-stacking them however they fell. It literally hurt my head. To me, a story is chronological. Young to old. Start to finish. To me, a story is a journey, where the second step can't happen until the first one is complete. Effect must happen after cause.
But that is only my western mind at work. I realize there are other ways to tell a story, than just the kind I understand.
We NEED artists. Those who go out of the traditional boundaries and paint colors on wind - without them we become stale, uninteresting, bored or stolid. Boring, in other words, repeating the same old stories, over and over, putting fancy dress on them and giving them new names, but still, they are the old stories.
This is not an old story. This is a new story.
I don't know how to review this novel because it is out of my usual reading experience. And so I break it down, to smaller, easier to chew sections.
The author has a great voice, it generally fits in with the main character. The descriptions were absolutely great, I could smell the desert, feel the unexpected rain, the dangerous sands, or see the bright lights that dazzled the young. How he named the river Yesterday's River was intuitive and beautiful. The characters wonderfully deep - more memory than imagination in their making, I think. The plot had chills and spills, some great conflicts. The pacing was strong and fast. It wasn't WHAT he said that confused me, it was HOW he said it. That was the only negative, for me, how he presented the book. So a four star, not a five.
You will either love this novel or hate it. It is totally up to you.


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