Below Torrential Hill: An Electric Eclectic Novella by Jonathan Koven
A WINNER OF THE 2020 ELECTRIC ECLECTIC NOVELLA PRIZE
A FINALIST OF THE 2020 CLAY REYNOLDS NOVELLA PRIZE
“Remarkable in its empathy, successfully conveying the difficult realities of death, first love, single parenting, alcoholism . . . Both an ode to loss and to growth, a dialectic that produces a singular tone and a dynamic plot. Within these pages, Koven has constructed an entire universe, and we are left homesick by story’s end.”—Shannon Greenstein, author of Pray for Us Sinners
“Captivating, awash in poetry and sensual detail . . . beautiful, sad, and full of hope.”—Charlotte Dune, author of Mushroom Honeymoon
“To say that Koven’s writing is evocative and exquisite is an understatement. Below Torrential Hill is a psychologically intricate story to savor.”—John DeDakis, author of the award-winning Lark Chadwick Mystery series
Jonathan Koven, author of the beloved poetry collection Palm Lines, returns with a stunning fiction debut. Breathtaking in scope, intimate in its detail, Below Torrential Hill is a coming-of-age about family, memory, and reconciliation.
It’s Christmas, and strange occurrences are plaguing the small town of Torrential Hill: a supernatural comet, undead insects, exploding streetlights, and a presence luring people into the woods. But when the mother of Tristen—a wistful, fatherless sixteen-year-old boy—hears voices from the kitchen sink, all he can think of is running away.
This is a Christmas story with a difference. The supernatural angle was really good, and the suspense had me turning the pages to find the answers.
The death of a loved one can effect people in different ways. And this story shows how these characters try to deal with some of these issues that death brings.
Tristan knows that the death of her husband (his dad) and the subsequent leaving of his stepfather has left her feeling lost and so turned to drink. So when she claims to hear voices, he thinks it’s the drink. The bond i feel between mother and son is extremely tenuous and it could snap at any moment.
Tristan is an interesting character, for such a young man he’s got a pretty good grasp of things, he looks after his mother. But he’s also a bit of a loner, not connecting with the kids in the area he lives.
Supporting characters only add to this story. His ex-girlfriend now his friend Ava is great, (she a no nonsense character, and says it how it is) he hopes they will get back together again. His mother Lucy doesn’t really know what she wants out of life, and you have to feel sorry for her, but lashing out at Tristan lost her a little of my respect.
Tristan thinks the drink is the issue with his mother, but when he hears the voices his first thought is disbelief…..
Flowed really well, and although only a short story, it was really good. The supernatural aspect was interesting, the spooky moments if they were in a film would have you hiding behind a cushion, and the suspense keeps you turning the pages. Liked the legend or story that tells of voices that could entice people to enter the wood and never be seen again, their voices would be added to the growing stream.
I’d recommend this book if you like something a little different.
A really good read.