Bluemoose Books were one of my reading heroes last year. And having read their upcoming release Captain Jesus by Colette Snowden I see no reason why this year is going to be any different.
Released on 28th January this book is tender, touching and full of emotion. Just what the world needs in abundance right now.
The story unfolds through a dual narrative. Firstly from the perspective of Jim; a 10 year old boy growing up in the present day. A member of a loving family, who are about to experience an unimaginable and unbearable tragedy. The second perspective belongs to his mother Marie and takes the reader back to her teenage years, growing up in a single parent Catholic family; feeling different and tainted by a shame that she doesn’t understand.
Through the eyes of these two young people we see the world within this novel come to life. Colette Snowden has created two very distinct characters and given them powerful and unique narrative voices. At no point does the style of either narrator jar, or feel disconnected, rather there is a complete blanket of authenticity wrapped around their words. Giving life to young characters, giving them a steady believable voice is not always easy, but Snowdon pulls it off with style.
This is a story that has grief and loss at it’s core. It touches upon the physical and emotional toll that grief takes on a family not just in the aftermath of loss but also through the long term effects. The web that loss spins through this novel is far reaching and indeed loss comes in many forms. It is not just the loss of a loved one that drives this story, but the loss of a dream, the loss of faith and the loss of what makes you whole.
The multigenerational perspective is inspired. For Marie, growing up in small, constrained family, has had far reaching and long lasting effect. Her childhood is marked by a strange silence where truths were occasionally spat out only to be swallowed back and then never spoken of again. She is attempting to create a different life for her children.
But will the tragedy that befalls her small family be too big for her to deal with and what will be the impact on Jim and his siblings life?
From laughter, to religion, to growing up and beyond, this story crosses so many divides and offers an insight into grief, but also joy. It is beautifully told and reflects the best and the worst of the human spirit.
As always I am honoured to have had a sneak preview of this very special Bluemoose release. Roll on 28th January!