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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monsters abound!

At the Water's Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen 

Tragedy and otherworldly happenings throw us directly into the heart break of loss and despair. Juxtaposed against the reality of World War II, this is a story of personal loss and the search for meaning. A fascinating tale set during the latter years of World War II in a tiny village on the shores of Loch Ness.
A young woman Madeline Hyde reluctantly accompanies her husband Ellis, and his best friend Hank on a journey to Scotland to hunt down the Loch Ness monster. They travel on a hospital ship having called in favours from high places.  Ellis in particular is seeking to unravel the secret of the Monster, gain fame and thus ally charges that he and Hank are cowards. Both have been unable to join the 'war effort' due to physical factors disallowing them. Hank and Ellis have been friends for ever. Madeline was a friend to both and now wife to Ellis. The three having been ruthlessly pursuing the careless Philadelphian socialite life, treading a path of mindless, endless high society events and self gratification. 
The journey to the remote highlands becomes one of self discovery for Madeline and a growing awareness of something off centre about her husband. On the trip over she is confronted by the dreadful injuries of soldiers on the boat. This begins the purging of the veil between her play world and the reality of her life. As Maddie confronts the petty and not so petty betrayals of her husband, she comes into her own. The dark side of Maddie's existence is thrown into relief against the life of the villagers who are living their lives under the threats that war time brings. The mystery of the Loch Ness monster, the world of superstition and Scottish fey characters are just some of the elements that Maddie is exposed to.  A place of people with generous and forgiving hearts is another. A powerful, poignant and beautifully crafted story of illusion, disillusion and love. Of heartfelt emotional action where 'monsters abound, usually hiding in plain sight'.

A NetGalley ARC

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