Today I have a review of As a River by Sion Dayson, available on September 3, 2019 from Jaded Ibis Press.
As a River is based in Georgia in the 1970s, a heated time for race relations in this small southern town. Greer Michaels has returned home to care for his dying mother after a lifetime of traveling the world. Returning home also means he’ll have to face the secrets as to why he left.
Greer is surrounded by other characters the reader also comes to know well. One of them, Ceiley, is an avid reader I think we all could relate to! His mother, Elizabeth, used to have an impressive voice for singing (this reminded me of my dad). I loved all the characters for different reasons.
As a River is a story of family and those secrets that bring shame and perhaps hope when they are unearthed and accepted. To find out the rest of the messages, you’ll just have to read this beauty because I can’t give away the heart of the story, the part that gives me chills when I think about it, and I mean the kind of chills that are warm and fuzzy and awe-inspiring.
Overall, As a River is a quiet story, yet heartily and indelibly profound. Sion Dayson, I hope you have more stories to tell us!
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Book:
It’s 1977. Bannen, Georgia, nestled amid pine forests, is rife with contrasts: natural beauty and racial tension, small-town charm and long-term poverty. An unsettling place for a Black man who fled it years ago and has since traveled the world.
But Greer Michaels has to come home, to care for his dying mother.
And that means he’ll have to reckon with the devastating secret that drove him out in the first place.
Greer’s story is intertwined with those of the people around him: His mother, Elizabeth, who once had a dazzling singing voice but fell silent years ago. Their neighbor Esse, who has turned to religion after her own traumatic past. Esse’s teenaged daughter, Ceiley, an insatiable reader with a burning curiosity about life beyond Bannen’s town limits.
Written in spare and lyrical prose, AS A RIVER moves back and forth across decades, evoking the mysterious play of memory as it touches upon shame and redemption, despair and connection. An exploration of family secrets rooted in the turbulent history of the segregated South, AS A RIVER is ultimately about our struggles to understand each other, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.