LSBBT Review: River, Sing Out by James Wade

   

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.



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


This likely makes little sense, but it is hard to actually describe my overwhelming feelings about this book.  This is a heart-wrenching coming of age tale focusing on Jonah Hargrove and a cast of supporting characters.  Jonah is 13 years old and looking to avoid his abusive father when he runs into River.  River is a woman on the run from a drug dealing boyfriend and needing help.  On the run and trying to find a way out of a dire situation, Jonah and ultimately River, learn incredibly hard lessons about life, love, and what it means to be a human.

Author James Wade has an incredibly poetic sense of style and a unique dialogue structure.  The characters are vivid and full of life, truly they do not stay on the page.  This book reads as a dramatic, contemporary coming of age novel.  The pacing is solid with the hardback version clocking in at 275 pages.  The cover is beautiful and captures the spirit of the book with it’s haunting view of a river and a single tree.  I very much enjoyed the third person perspective throughout the book.  This choice kept the reader in Jonah’s shoes and experiencing his feelings. 

At the end of the day, I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction, coming of age tales, gritty dramas, and stories set in East Texas.  I very much enjoyed this book and appreciated the real-world drama that played out over the narrative.  This is my second book to read by this author and I am a lifelong fan!  Grab a copy today!  Thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book!

 

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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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly: 

6/8/21

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