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FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME: A Novel ~Corran Harrington

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

“Daniel Arroyo has suffered a lifetime of guilt over the sudden death of his infant sister, who died when he was eight years old.  He now lives his middle years between that guilt and worsening episodes of PTSD from a Vietnam he left thirty years ago.  When a violent encounter on a dusty highway forces Daniel to face what haunts him, he finds himself pulled back to the neighborhood of his youth. Where old houses hold tired secrets.  What really happened on that steamy August afternoon?  The answer comes spilling from the old neighborhood, and Daniel begins to find his way home.  Corran Harrington takes the reader along the Rio Grande, from its headwaters to the sea.” (Cover)

Each chapter of this book flowed a segment of Daniel’s life and each was a collection of tight, incredible, descriptive words, which just held the readers attention.  One knew the wild asparagus and the movement of water in the irrigation ditch.  This was the place where Daniel value programmed, of his best friend, of his siblings and parents.  There are roots here – deep roots.  Wild roses tapped the window and the basketball bounced on the court, it was supposed to be safe.  I think on purpose the next chapter did not flow from the last, rather it was a jump into another memory and experience and at first I found this disconcerting until I began to expect it.  I think this was to show the confusion in Daniel’s mind and it succeeded.  The psychological dimensions of the story were revealed and explained out of sequence and made the reader work a bit to integrate the life being told.

By coming back home, drawn in by the wonderful next-door neighbor, Daniel is able to find himself and his own truth and it will free his life and propel him forward.

FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME is quite the read and I think I will keep my advanced reading copy on my shelf for a future read.  At this time in my life the “death” theme was a bit tough to take and I felt sadness as I read – a loneliness that made finishing the story a release.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review.  If you go to the link you can see all the other reader’s reviews of this book.

From the Cover:

“Corran Harrington is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Santa Fe Writing Project finalist, a Hidden River Arts Eludia Award finalist, a Bosque Fiction contest finalist, and a New Millennium Writings award semi-finalist who short fiction (written also as Connie Harrington) has appeared in number literary journals.  A former lawyer, Harrington also has a background in cultural and linguistic anthropology.  She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

NOTE: This review is several days late, I am so sorry I had a sudden illness and could not get to my computer to get the post into the schedule.  I hope this will prove to be a fine posting and not cause problems for TLC or the author.

Thirty Days With My Father
Once Upon A Lie
Water On the Moon


Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

“Victoria Fish casts a spell so subtle and sure it could only be the work of a master storyteller.  It is this talented writer’s special gift to be able to unmask everyday reality to its essence and surprise us with the familiar.  In rendering the struggles of ordinary people – suburban moms and military vets and disdained little sisters – she illuminated the stuff that makes us human.”  Sara Tucker (from cover)

A BRIEF MOMENT OF WEIGHTLESSNESS is a gathering of short stories which expose events in ordinary lives which are profound relationship reveals.  The writing is full of momentary details that make the location alive and the communications vital and often exquisite in the compactness of their expression. I read each of the 11 stories twice in a row and I highlighted 29 quotes which touched me deeply.  I was not awake all night trying to find resolution because these stories are complete; they are just about a snapshot moment.

I am giving this book to four people for birthday gifts in October and November because it is the nicest group of well – written words I can expect to share as we retreat into our winter mode with gentle prose.

Chapter Titles:

  • Where Do You Find a Turtle with No Legs?
  • The Sari
  • Green Line
  • Unleashed
  • What Is the Color Blue?
  • Sanctuary Therapy
  • The Last and Kindest Thing
  • Phantom Pain
  • The Voice at the End of the Line
  • Between the Dream and Here

“She remembers putting four rolls of Wintergreen Lifesavers in her pocket and quietly climbing up the stairs and over the green shag carpeting to the kids’ bathroom when she was not much older than he.  She’d heard that they sparkled fluorescently if you chewed them with your mouth open in the dark.  In the bathroom, she turned out the light and pulled the curtains her mother made against the late summer light.  How wonderful it would be to see lights and sparkles coming out of her.  She’d stood in front of the mirror in the pitch dark and did it over and over until her mother called her for dinner.” (Page 59)

TLC Book Tours  and Mayapple Press  sent me a copy of this delightful book to review.  It was pure pleasure.  A BRIEF MOMENT OF WEIGHTLESSNESS.

Victoria Fish writes many short stories which have appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Hunger Mountain, Slow Trains, Wild River Review, and Literary Mama. She is currently working on a Master of Social Work degree. She lives with her husband and three boys in the hills of Vermont.  A BRIEF MOMENT OF WEIGHTLESSNESS is her first book and it is sublime.


“Going to the hospital reminds me of flying: if you dress up, you have a better chance of being bumped to first class.  You get more respect.”  (Page 83)

Incendiary Girls
The Sense of Touch
Our Love Could Light the World
The Moon Sisters

Thirty Days With My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD ~Christal Presley, PhD

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

This book is already an Amazon best seller in pre-orders!

Thirty Days With My Father is quite a memoir and it tells a story that has not been publically told before.  It is the story of how a young man’s experiences in Vietnam during the war developed into PTSD and left him disabled and unable to cope.  How the people yelling at him and spitting on him when he returned from duty haunted his days and created an almost unbearable anguish and tremendous suffering.  He kept it to himself.  From the onset of the disability, it took the Veteran’s administration nearly 6 years to get him competent services and medications that were fractionally helpful.  During that time and for most of his life, his new wife and baby were traumatized by his unpredictable behaviors, angers, and suicidal behaviors.

Thirty Days With My Father is the story of a five year old child being traumatized by the rages of her veteran father and how she coped with secondary generational PTSD when there was no notion that this war was affecting the families and their home life with such drama and infection.  It is a story about how a child learned to cope and her defense mechanisms and isolation because she could not tell and had to keep up appearances.

This is also a story about America’s addiction to fear.  It is driven into the very fabric of life and then often exploited in small rural communities because they do not know and do not explore beyond their ken.  In this case, the Bible thumping, loud preaching of the family’s church also contributed to their dismay as it add confusion and “sin” and “saved” values to their already overwhelming burden and perpetuated their silence.  When her father first came home from Vietnam and was working to support the family, women walking down the street would change to the other side; just being a Vietnam Veteran meant one was shunned.

Presley does not spare words in sharing her story, she tells her truth, her struggles, her fears, her outcomes, and her relentless pursuit to heal herself and find recovery and health from her experiences. Where she found solace in her learning, she translated that into becoming a teacher and helping others. She had to get free of her family and move away in order to find herself.

“An incredible memoir…and important part of the still unhealed wounds of war” ~Nikki Giovanni – Poet, Writer, Activist

Thirty Days With My Father is about 30 days of phone calls as Presley is defending her thesis and making tremendous strides in her recovery.  Her father agrees to talk to her about the war and her childhood for a few minutes each day on the telephone.  He has several “episodes” as brought on by the conversation, and yet this is a primary healing experience for him also.  They get reacquainted and they come home. The book is written with simplicity of language that I think will make it more of an opportunity for a larger audience.

The book is filled with resources for others who wish to know about PTSD, second generational PTSD, the trauma that families experience after war, and recovery.   It is a wealth of information from personal to public.   We have come a great distance in understanding war and veteran’s needs, but we truly have a long road ahead of us too.  I can understand how this book is already a best seller and I think it will fly off the shelves here in my area.  November 1, 2012 was the publishing date for Thirty Days With My Father.

I am not going to rate this book, because I think it needs to be a national read and I hope it will inspire more peaceful thoughts for our future.


I want to thank TLC book tours and HCI books for sharing a pre-print copy of this book with me for review.

If you order anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you. Donations also welcome.

Christal Presley Blog
Christal Presley Facebook

Related Reading:
PTSD part 1 Why Would You Want to Know about This Disorder?
PTSD part 2  Who Gets IT? 
PTSD part 3  Who Do You Trust?
PTSD Part 4 The big picture for healing
PTSD Part 5