A River So Long

Vallie Lynn Watson, Author
Vallie Lynn Watson. Luminis (Midpoint, dist.), $17.95 (180p) ISBN 978-1-935462-60-6
Reviewed on: 12/17/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
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The untidy facts of heroine Veronica's life are presented with cool detachment in Watson's debut novel. As the story opens, Veronica's honeymoon with her new husband in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, has come to an end, after which she returns to work as a commercial realtor in Phoenix. Her job and several extramarital affairs take her all over the country— to Memphis, New Orleans, Raleigh, New York, Wilmington, and points in between. Tellingly, unlike her husband, Veronica's many extracurricular partners have both names—Enzo and Sears and Dylan and Van and Wes—and hints of personality. The story proceeds in very short chapters, nearly a hundred, with titles as distanced as the prose—"Girl in Costume," "Garden Party," "Perhaps, Perhaps"—often providing headings for further relevant paragraphs of description. "Food," for example, covers Veronica's addiction "Sour Cream and Onion Pringles"; "Mashed Potatoes", a staple of her mother's; and "Nikki T's Mom's Kentucky Derby Pie," the best dessert she ever tasted. Watson captures moments and memories in beautifully economical, apt detail, but the question remains if readers who step back from this meticulously pointillist novel will see a complete picture or feel just as disoriented as Veronica. (June)
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