Drama, Historical fiction

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

This year is shaping out to be quite an interesting one in every way. I went back to my language class, something that I started last year. I had effectively been a recluse since I arrived in HK and it felt good to feel like part of something slightly bigger than my home ;). My reading year is also looking very positive. I have already had a few five star reads and potential five star reads pending so that has me even more excited. So much so that I might be babbling slightly incoherently. The following review has to be precise, so I will calm down to get my reactions across.

I requested this book via NetGalley and thanks to the publishers, I was granted access quite a while back. The version I was given access to is set to be published on the 17th of this month and I thought it would be appropriate to review the book accordingly. This dependency on the publication date is a new plan that I have hatched and in the (almost)two weeks since the year has begun, I have stuck to it.

There have been tons of positive reviews that I have read about this book in the past few months, but none of them could have prepared me (thankfully) for the ride that it was. If taken apart as bare bones the tale may not bear up and therefore I shall not try to do that. It is how the tale is told that is its claim to beauty and something higher. The narration appeals to both my mind and heart and it felt like I was flowing with that river that is ingrained into everything that is talked about in the book. There is a double meaning for all the people, their actions and the events that includes the mention of the river and I got it. To those who read, this might be a very crucial point, that you feel like you can see the point the author is trying to make.

As I began the first chapter and the town was introduced, I paused and had to catch hold of the person standing nearest to me (luckily it was my mother) to read out the introductory paragraph to show her how stories are meant to be written. She nodded the appreciation and that was enough for me. I went back to my corner to read it. Since I was mid journey(in reality), it took me a while to finish. I deliberately slowed down my reading pace so that I could savour it. This is a very big deal for me as most people who know me would understand, I fidget if I would have to read a book too slowly. This book leaves no room for fidgeting. The story begins with a tale, and the arrival of almost dead pair of (possibly)strange people. Their arrival heralds a very big change in all their lives, most of them good but a secret festers. This secret is slowly peeled aside as each layer is explained to us till it all makes sense. Some of it is pure logic and a chunk of it requires us to believe in a bit of something beyond logic. Time is suspended as you get involved in the lives of all the villagers, a few vital to the story at hand a few others just to give us the colour of the landscape.

I highly recommend this book to all those who strive to find beautiful narration in the books that they read.

Affiliate link of Book depository to purchase the book if you are interested:Paperback,Hardback

10 thoughts on “Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield”

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