Book Review: River, Sing Out

 

   

RIVER, SING OUT
BY
JAMES WADE
 
Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
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Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Number of Pages: 315 pages
 



“And through these ages untold, the river did act as the lifeblood of all those things alongside it.”

Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.

Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.

Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.




A poetic and gruesome composition. That is how I am going to start off this review. I was fully enveloped by our author's words from the very beginning to the bitter end. Wade has a way of creating this life, filled with hope and sorrow, and writing it so beautifully. His words, the characters and the setting will keep you sucked in and you won't want to look away.

Our characters are ones that you won't quickly forget. Each was created to showcase the good, the bad, the timid, the brave and the changed. From one of our villains, John Curtis, who doesn't seem to have an ounce of mercy in his body, to our main character, Jonah, who shows us what it means to have patience and overcome the day. These characters are uniquely written and no two people are exactly the same. As a reader, you'll become fully invested, cheering for the vindication for some characters and becoming angered at others and wondering how they'll ever survive in the cruel world that they were born into. 

The world that we find ourselves in through this story can open anyone's eyes. Our characters live in a place where most animals have died out, water is wary and people are tragically mad. It's a world that is wonderfully written with every detail. It's also a world that I, nor I imagine, any other reader would want to live in.  

The adventure we find out main characters is also unique and fun, yet suspenseful to read. You'll find yourself always hoping for the best and for our bad guys to never catch up. You'll hope that the kids find a new life to live and you won't look away from any of it.

Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. It's a great one to put on your book-list for this year. There are ups and downs, but you become invested in the ride and you won't want to put this story to rest. It's a tragically, beautiful story and I hope you get a chance to read it. Until next time, Happy Reading!


PRAISE FOR RIVER, SING OUT

''With echoes of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy (and perhaps a smidge of Flannery O'Connor), River, Sing Out is a beautiful, brutal meditation on survival and love in the face of nearly unspeakable violence and depravity in an East Texas community ravaged by the meth trade. Taut, lyrical, and precise, the prose soars in this important new novel by James Wade.'' --Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine

''If you read one novel this year, make it this one. James Wade's River, Sing Out, is an instant classic filled with characters that will break your heart, lyrical prose as haunted as the river it evokes, and a Southern Noir undertow that wholly sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages until it's searing, masterful conclusion.'' --May Cobb, author of The Hunting Wives

''Wade, whose striking debut, All Things Left Wild (2020), traveled back a century in Texas history, uses an unlikely friendship to explore an equally wild present-day landscape...A haunting fable of an impossible relationship fueled by elemental need and despair.'' --Kirkus Reviews





   
 


James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of All Things Left Wild, which is a winner of the 2016 Writers' League of Texas Manuscript Contest, a winner of the 2021 Spur Award for Best Historical Fiction, and a winner of the 2021 Reading the West Award for Best Debut Novel. His fiction has appeared in various literary journals and magazines.
 
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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
TWO WINNERS
Two winners each receive an autographed first-edition hardcover copy of River, Sing Out
+ an autographed paperback copy of multiple award-winning All Things Left Wild.
(US only. Ends midnight, CDT, June 18, 2021)





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6/8/21

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Comments

  1. Fabulous review. I love that characters are "tragically mad." Descriptive. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete

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