Friday, August 8, 2014

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

Alistair and Fiona were friends when they were little but they haven't really spoken for years when she asks him to write her biography.  Intrigued, Alistair listens to Fiona's story of how she travels into a magical world called Aquavania where she can create her own reality but where there is also the Riverman who steals souls from the children who visit there.  Fiona claims to have already lost several friends and believes she will be next.  She also believes that, like the children who are in Aquavania, Riverman exists in the real world.  Alistair isn't sure what to believe of Fiona's story.  Is she crazy or is she trying to tell him about something terrible happening in her real life, possibly something with her odd uncle who is a Vietnam War veteran?  Either way he is drawn to Fiona and determined to find out the truth.

The story sounds intriguing and in fact I found myself interested in this book right at the beginning.  But the more I read the more angry I found myself at the artsy-ness of it all.  It reads - to me - like one of those things that is meant to sound deep and that people are inclined to praise because it's obvious that it must have some deep meaning.  Or maybe I just didn't get it.  Or maybe, like other things I've watched and read recently that I've disliked, it's just sort of hope-less and I don't like that.  But when I finished the book my first reaction was "Huh?" and then "Ugh."