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Book Review – River Rising

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Because I review primarily non-fiction I find myself inequipped and lacking confidence in my ability to review fiction. Fiction, after all, is far more subjective than non-fiction. Where a book about doctrine is either right or wrong when measured by the standard of Scripture, a novel can appeal to one person and have no appeal to another. I prefer to deal with hard facts than the intangibles of fiction!

Still, at times I enjoy reading fiction and find it a nice break from what I usually read. I recently read an advance copy of River Rising by Athol Dickson, a novel due for publication in January of 2006. Set in Pilotville, Louisiana in 1927, the subject of the story is Hale Poser, a stranger who has come to the town looking for his roots. He is a timid, humble man, but one who knows the Lord and is always ready to challenge others to know Him better. I will say little of the plot lest I say too much. It is something of an intricate plot and could be easily ruined.

This book gripped me, not even so much because of the story, but because of the atmosphere. The town of Pilotville seems strangely utopic, yet only on the surface. Blacks and whites cohabit the town in relative peace and with some semblance of equality, yet the reader is led to feel that all is not quite right. And indeed, it is not. The author is able to paint a picture of the town in a beautiful, haunting way. Once I began the book I wanted, or even needed, to keep turning the pages.

This is a book that my wife and I both read and we enjoyed it equally. I am glad to recommend it, but, as is the nature of fiction, your mileage may vary!

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