Life is a river. . . .
And there are fish in it, and in the lakes and the quiet little brooks that course through the rustling woods of North Carolina, fish that Noah Locke senses by placing the palm of his hand on the surface of the water. Now that WWII is over, Noah is no longer a soldier but a man of peace, and he has come at last to the Valley of Light. He is meant to be here—here, in Bowerstown, among the plain folk who move slowly and judge a man not by the cut of his overalls but by the truth of his soul, though at least they don’t share the author’s fondness for elegiac repetition. And so Noah comes to the Lake of Grief, where a young widow ponders the path not taken (and the taken path too) and her husband’s suicide and many, many other things. In the dark beside the lake called Grief, Noah tries to push away his own dreadful memories, memories of a fearsome place called Dachau and of the innocents who died so tragically there. And he remembers so much more: the girl in the café in some German village—but not her name—a girl who was tall and had red hair. In his dreams, he sees “himself with the girl, the girl being his wife, making him warm with the way she smiled and with her body and with the gentle way she talked to him.” Alas, there’s work to do, even for this dreamer: a boy is lost in the woods, and the folk of Bowerstown search high and low, over hill and dale. Though the Lake of Grief (known also, absurdly, as the Lake of No Fish) holds secrets in its dark waters, Noah casts his line once more, to catch a bass for little Matthew. . . .
Well-meaning but unintentionally silly, from the author of, most recently, Taking Lottie Home (2000).