The magic and power of great writers is their ability to draw the reader into their imagined world by making the reading experience seamless. Yes, if we stop to consider, we know the creation is not real, but a good writer makes the whole thing hyper-real. However, not everyone can be a great writer, but even a good writer draws us out from ourselves for a while. Unfortunately, Micheal Rivers is not a great, nor even a good, writer.
I am reluctant to write a poor review for a fellow writer, for I know how long and hard the job is to write and craft a novel, but in this instance I am confused. I found Moonlight on the Nantahala so awkward, so stilted, and in places so difficult to read that I looked it up on Amazon to discover what others thought. This confused as it has received a large number of 5 star reviews (as well as a number of 1 star which appear to agree with my opinion). The general consensus was this was a great book, which confused me even more.
Moonlight on the Nantahala is the story of Edward, an octogenarian who lost his true love many years ago. The tale involves him meeting and befriending a troubled young woman, Lena. There are major elements of a ghost story threaded through the novel. In the story it takes Edward three years before he speaks to Lena, who has been sitting at the bottom of the garden to his old house all that time. When he does speak, for me, things get even worse.
Starting the book, I was intrigued and attracted by the first page. The writing was clean and drew me in, but things went downhill from there.
The dialogue is hard to read, as no-one is able to just say something, they always have to laugh heartily or whisper quietly. And this happens not on the odd occasion, but pretty much every single dialogue point.
And then there are the switches in point of view. Early on in the book this begins to stand out. In one paragraph we are inside Edward’s head, the next inside Lena’s, and the next inside that of his housekeeper, Betty. In some paragraphs the viewpoint is switched from sentence to sentence. I found myself constantly interrupted trying to work out who I was seeing this world from.
I’m confused by this book, and reluctant to post what is a negative review, but feel I need to express my true feelings after reading it. Strangely, in parts, the writing is very good. Micheal Rivers can be excellent at setting and descriptions, can be concise and relevant, but then the swirling head-switching distracts from what is being built.
I see on Amazon the book claims a high selling rank. However, when I look at the Product Details I see it is classified as #72 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Advice & How-to > Parenting & Families > Aging Parents > Aging. The book is neither Nonfiction nor about Aging Parents. I will concede it is about Aging.
So I have a dilemma. I really disliked this book. I can see it has some redeeming features, hence the 2 stars and not 1. However, in light of other reviews, I am willing to concede I may be simply missing something here. But this is my review and not that of anyone else, so I can only offer my honest opinion. Sorry.