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The River and The Sea Paperback – 13 Nov 2012
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Top customer reviews
The narrative unfolds in two strands narrated by the protagonist, Jack Butler: the present, an Arctic hell of three desperate men holed up in a cabin, slowly starving to death; and the previous year in the village of Footner, BC - an British expat settlement that is meant to be an apple-growing paradise, though in reality is a barren, wind-blasted folly. (Footner is based on a real place, a failed 'Garden of Eden': Walhachin.)
The Footner sections show us the unfolding affair between Jack - an Irishman fleeing west to oupace his own demons - and Sarah, whose husband is fighting for King and Country in the War. The ridiculousness and stuffiness of Edwardian society is in stark contrast to the passion of the two lovers. Though of course, the end of the war will change things for everyone.
The desperation, brutalness, and bleakness of the Arctic sections are wonderfully conveyed. The snowbound, silent world with just its scant visitations from passing wolverines and ptarmigans, offers a clever counterpoint to Jack and Sarah's story. And as readers we are left wondering right to the novel's ending exactly how Jack has come to be stranded in this northern hell.
An excellent novel, with a wonderful narrator, a convincing central love story, and a brilliant sense of a lost time and place.
The winter scenes in the cabin draw the reader into the unprepared men's despair as they are trapped in the frozen north. Jack, Sarah and Edward's stories are gentler, at times more joyous.
Best book I've read in ages. Awaiting the author's next book.
BUT, putting aside any personal bias, this is a well-researched, well told tale of forlorn hope, love & life; the main characters Irishman Jack & very English Sarah are well rounded, true to their roots; the two interconnecting stories lines, one set in the arid BC farmland & the other in frozen Northern wastes is well done. The last third of the book brings the two together to a bitter sweet conclusion.
I have taken genuine pleasure in recommending this book to my friends.
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There is no denying it is well written very descriptive and the characters are well...Read more
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