Author : Dan Berne
Publisher : Forest Avenue Press
Genre : Contemporary, Family
Source : Netgalley
Rating : 3.5 Stars
I’m about 99% sure that I have already written this review. I have no clue what happened to it but I’ve searched my blog, pages and pages, key words, everything. Even searched images to find this cover, but it isn’t there. So, I’m writing what I can remember of it, thankfully since i keep updating my thoughts on my Notebooks app and on Goodreads, I should be able to do it easily.
The story is set in Alaska and our protagonist is Ray Bancroft, a widower and a fisherman. He has a two man fishing vessel where he and best friend Tlingit go crabbing to make enough money to support themselves and , in his case, the grad daughter he takes care of while her mother, his daughter, is in prison for drugs, drugs and more drugs. The things that make Ray quirky are a little bit different from the things that make most protagonists in a story like this quirky. Ray is obsessed with gods. Not just his own gods, but gods from every culture and every corner of the earth. And he has them everywhere, superstitions and al, on tables, on kitchen counters and even on his fishing vessel.
WHAT I LIKED : The setting was absolutely beautiful! The author manages to take you through the Alaskan landscape, making you feel cold and worried. The characterisation of Ray was perfect because he is far from perfect. He drinks to solve his problems, he is out of touch with women’s issues and honestly, he is terrible at making decisions. His grand daughter seems more mature than him at times but then she suddenly acts out and everything is normal again. I adored the inclusion of the various gods from various cultures. It shows diversity in the story without actually make it super obvious and since I know characters like this in real life, it made it all the more relatable to me!
As the story moves on Ray is presented with problem after problem and while these are all hard to solve, he doesn’t do any superhuman things to fix them. He just drinks It made me grow frustrated in parts it made me understand his issues in part and I spend most of my time screaming advice at my kindle that made my family wonder if I’d finally lost it! It’s great that the author managed to bring out that much of a reaction from me.
WHAT I DISLIKED : Well, while the inclusion of gods from various cultures was brilliant, it was incorrect. I can’t speak for all the gods but the info on the Indian gods here were incorrect so I have to assume that it was not accurately researched for the other gods as well! Can’t completely blame the author since boxing India into one belief is impossible. There are so many differences between the north and the south that it is difficult, as an outsider, to get things right but I do wish the author had done more research. This thoroughly took away from the experience.
Another thing I didn’t like was the way the author kept using the wording, “scoot out.” It jut stuck out jarringly for me and each time I read it I left the world I was reading about and instead spend time grumbling about that phrasing. Once or twice would have been okay but so many ties, just took away the pleasure of the rest of the paragraph or even page. Also I wish his age had been properly mentioned because when I think grandpa I imagine someone like the dude in Up or Heidi’s grand dad. He seems much younger than tat and it just threw me a bit.
Would I reread? Probably, if the copy remains in my Kindle I may reread. I definitely will look at his other books but maybe ones without multiple gods from various other cultures. You know how much I despise ebooks and how easily I DNF a book if it is an ebooks, well, this one was easy to read and I flew through it. I’d definitely recommend this for a chill out book.
Family means everything to widowed Alaskan fisherman Ray Bancroft, raising his granddaughter while battling storms, invasive species, and lawsuit happy tourists. To navigate, and to catch enough crab to feed her college fund, Ray seeks help from a multitude of gods and goddesses – not to mention ad-libbed rituals performed at sea by his half-Tlingit best friend. But kitchen counter statues and otter bone ceremonies aren’t enough when his estranged daughter returns from prison, swearing she’s clean and sober. Her search for a safe harbor threatens everything Ray holds sacred. Set against a backdrop of ice and mud and loss, this debut novel explores the unpredictable fissures of memory, and how families can break apart, even in the midst of healing.