Swift River

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A haunting saga about growing up different, disconnected and isolated, and the winding journey a life can take in its journey through to rootedness.

Diamond, our first-person POV narrator, is a uniquely authentic voice. A young black girl whose narrative age varies from nine or so to sixteen, as she appears in the current day. With a rawness that is often heartbreaking, Di takes us back through memories of her earliest childhood (disadvantaged and targeted) and eventually even further, as she uncovers the tender and poignant history of many of her key ancestors – those she loves, and those she never got a chance to know – revealed to her through stories shared in burgeoning relationships she eventually manages to claim.

The only remaining person of color in a splintered and racially hostile New England town, Diamond feels herself completely psychologically adrift – tangled up close to her free-spirited white mother, who has trouble holding a job and is in many ways, even more adrift than her daughter.

“Ma does not like the clutter of feelings.”

When Diamond finds herself severed from a relationship with her black father, (who is suddenly declared missing), she comes to realize she has lived too long without the influence (translation: love and affinity) of his entire family cohort.

Diamond’s experiences, both directly experienced and those revealed through her slowly coalescing kinship with her long-lost relatives, are both cruel and incredibly tender in this, her coming of age story. As Diamond comes to understand the richness of love, support, and accomplishments peppered throughout her family history, the possibilities this seeds for her own wholeness and future become apparent.

At once both a beautifully written love-note to families, and a thoughtful expose of racism, poverty, cultural change, and the townships left behind, this is a read for lovers of character-based literary fiction, as well as those who enjoy historically-rich stories.

A great big thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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