Announcing the Great New Books September Pick
It’s already been four weeks since we announced our August pick, The River Witch, by Kimberly Brock!
We hope you all enjoyed reading it with us, and if you haven’t jumped into the comments for a bit of discussion with us, we’d love for you to share what you think this week (below in the comments).
If you weren’t able to read The River Witch, don’t worry! We’re on to a new month’s selection, which we’ll be announcing below …
But first, to wrap up our August pick, a few of us at Great New Books would like to share our favorite quotes from The River Witch.
Symbolism in literature has always intrigued me. In fact, when I read a book, I enjoy
studying the ways in which authors employ symbolic methods, as well as the objects and
concepts they choose. In The River Witch, water – particularly the Damascus River –
plays a symbolic role in many ways; it is a cleansing, mysterious, powerful, redemptive
force. The characters live near it, are either drawn to it or afraid of it, and ultimately are
impacted by it. The two passages below, beautiful in their language, add to the water
symbolism present throughout much of the book.
(p. 68 Roslyn is watching Urey as he fishes):
“I don’t know how long I stood there. Only when he pulled in his catch, and I saw the
flash of silver scales, did the spell break. Instantly I was anxious to leave, a guilty witness
to a man making love to a river. But he looked up then, straight at me. Even from the
distance, too far away to read his expression, I knew I came as no more of a surprise to
him than the fish that struggled in his net.”
“Water was only ever water, pulling in and out with the tide, flowing the same as it had for all time. It was never the river that was changing. It was the people watching it.”
“Time seemed to slip around me on this island, as though I could step into the past as easily as I could be carried into the future, and Mama seemed far away in some other constant place. I’d put her on a shelf the same as her pottery, for when I could deal with her.”
“The cadence of his work settled in me in some carnal way I understood without explanation. Granny Byrne’s soft alto floated to me on a rising wind, and rose up in the back of my own throat ’til I almost sang out. My breathing came into a rhythm with his, so it seemed for a moment, we were connected. I was flying, and falling, and being dragged back again, the same as the current slipping through Urey’s hands, and the hands of generations of hands and currents before us.”
This one stuck with me because of its imagery and its symbolism. Roslyn feels the pull of the river for many different reasons and this one is a perfect example.
“Sometimes our most beautiful gifts are our heaviest burdens. And I cried for us both, and prayed this old haunted riverbank that judged the hearts of those who dared walk its paths, would keep our sacred secrets.”
I loved this one simply because of its honesty about humanity; we are as much our flaws as we are our gifts. But what we do with both is really what we are all about.
Thank you, Melissa, Julia, and Hallie for sharing your favorite quotes …
If you’ve read The River Witch, we’d love to hear your thoughts about the book, too, in the comments below.
August Book Pick
For our August book pick, we ran a vote for you to choose which of four recently-published books you wanted to read. We’ll have a vote every other month, which means our next voting month at Great New Books will be October.
September’s pick is being hosted by Jennifer, and our September Great New Book is …
Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck ! Erika is a Target Emerging Author and her novel is published by NAL / Penguin and will be on shelves next week.
About Hemingway’s Girl:
“She remembered when Hemingway had planted a banyan tree at his house and told her its parasitic roots were like human desire. At the time she’d thought it romantic. She hadn’t understood his warning.”
In Depression-era Key West, Mariella Bennet, the daughter of an American fisherman and a Cuban woman, knows hunger. Her struggle to support her family following her father’s death leads her to a bar and bordello, where she bets on a risky boxing match…and attracts the interest of two men: world-famous writer, Ernest Hemingway, and Gavin Murray, one of the WWI veterans who are laboring to build the Overseas Highway.
When Mariella is hired as a maid by Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline, she enters a rarified world of lavish, celebrity-filled dinner parties and elaborate off-island excursions. As she becomes caught up in the tensions and excesses of the Hemingway household, the attentions of the larger-than-life writer become a dangerous temptation…even as straightforward Gavin Murray draws her back to what matters most. Will she cross an invisible line with the volatile Hemingway, or find a way to claim her own dreams? As a massive hurricane bears down on Key West, Mariella faces some harsh truths…and the possibility of losing everything she loves.
We’ll host a giveaway for a copy of Hemingway’s Girl here at Great New Books next week. Join us for a chance to win!
For you: Share with us your favorite quote(s) from the August pick, The River Witch, in the comments below. We look forward to hearing what you think …