FOLLOW THE RIVER by Paul Bennett


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This first young-adult novel by a distinguished poet has an interesting style but never really engages the reader. Between 1934 and 1937, a deep feeling grows between ""Lighthorse"" Harry Lee, whose older brothers work instead of going to school, and Nancy Lee Sutton, daughter of a banker. Their relationship is played against the atmosphere of a small town in Appalachian Ohio, its tensions mainly a result of the poverty of Lighthorse's family and the alcoholism of Nancy's mother. Always there is the sense that more is going on under the conversations between the two families, ideas and tensions that the two may understand when they're older. A tragic accident involving the shooting of Lighthorse's beloved eldest brother by a drunken Mrs. Sutton is almost the wedge that permanently seperates them; but when Nancy asks Lighthorse to join her in a visit to her sick father, misunderstandings begin to be resolved. In short, moment-like chapters, with events and feelings described rather than evoked, Bennett seems to settle for a distancing nostalgic patina for his narrative. Despite the haunting plot, the book is not particularly memorable.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1987
Page count: 190pp
Publisher: Orchard/Watts