Saturday, December 29, 2012

Book Review: The River Wife

So, I had this novel listed by "J. Agee" on my TBR list. I assumed it was by James Agee and was distressed to see, upon finding it at the library, that the author of The River Wife is actually Jonis Agee. I nearly put the book back on the shelf but decided to take a chance. After all, I must have added it to my TBR list because of someone's great review.

The novel starts with a young wife, Hedie, who finds an old diary one night while waiting for her husband to come home. The story then shifts to Annie Ducharme and her river bandit husband, Jacques Ducharme. Eventually we get to Ducharme's second wife, and then, well, I got mixed up, honestly.

I really liked the story of Annie. And I liked the stories of Omah, Laura, and Maddie, although I'm not sure I could tell you what relation they were to Jacques, Annie, and each other. The story of Hedie was also interesting. The problem for me was that I couldn't quite piece together all of the connections these women and their stories had to Jacques. I kept feeling like something was missing, that all would be revealed just around the corner.

There was so much unsaid in the novel—so much reading-between-the-lines that needed to be done. I tried, I really did. Again, I really loved Annie Lark's story, and I wish the novel could have been just about her and Jacques. This first third of the novel was beautifully written, rich in character and language. In the end, though, I felt sort of unfulfilled and a little dumb. What did I miss? How did I miss it? Ever feel like that at the end of a novel? 

No comments: