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The Passage: A Novel ~Michael Hurley

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Give a middle aged American Irishman a bar fight, put him on his sailboat headed to Ireland to find the true taste of Guinness and an amazing story emerges from Hurley’s imagination.   I could not put this book down, I was possessed by the story and the frame and range of the surface right to the depth the heart can reach.

I am so very happy Mr. Hurley asked me if I wanted to read it and that he sent me a PDF copy.  WOW.  Lucky ME!

I even read THE PASSAGE on two 4-hour car rides.  I could totally identify with the main character’s life – “Fitz” was just right and complete and steadfast and I just wanted to know how he was fairing on his path to salvation, redemption and his progress to shore up his self-worth.  The tragedies and mistakes were sublime and the droplets of humor and descriptions just tickled and delighted my imagination – holding my attention steadfastly.

Several years ago I reviewed another of Hurley’s books – THE VINEYARD.  The story was interesting and well written, but I could not identify with any of the 3 women characters.  None of them became real.  The book went on to win awards and I just thought “Oh well, we all have different tastes in reading.”

The twists and turns in the writing of this novel, were remarkably paced and just slid into this readers psyche with sometimes a sigh, a laugh or a didn’t see that coming.  It is so like life – no matter the taste of Guinness – no matter where.

“Do you believe in everlasting Love?”

My favorite quote came at PDF page 146: “Genre fiction uses plot to tell you a story about someone else’s life.  Classic fiction uses characterizations to tell you a story about yourself.”

What is holding onto you?  What is making you define yourself incorrectly?  How do you care and like yourself?  What pieces/peaces are you missing in your own journey?  What are the meanings you hold dear? And are those things, which you value – programed at age 10 true or false?

Life is definitely a journey and a process and so many of us have a middle-aged change of heart and endeavor.  It would be hard not to relate to this character and his story.  Irish magic just short of leprechauns and fairies adds just the right leverage to this tale.  I am passing this on to several friends for sure.

A remarkable read and I would give it a “10” and hope that it might reach the award phase and become a best seller.

About the Author (from book cover)

“Michael Hurley is the author of three novels and several works of nonfiction.  His debut novel, THE PRODIGAL, won the Chanticleer Reviews Grand Prize for Book of the Year in 2013.  This second novel, THE VINEYARD, won the 2015 Eric Hoffer Award for General Fiction.  A memoir, ONCE UPON A GYPSY MOM, was published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.  His essay collection, LETTERS FROM THE WOODS, was shortlisted for Book of the Year in 2005 by ForeWard Reviews.  Between 1995 and 2003, he published a quarterly literary journal on wilderness canoeing, now collected in single hardcover volume entitled HURLEY’S JOURNAL.  He wrote THE PASSAGE while living in England and Wales.  He keeps a journal and stays in touch with readers on his website, www.mchurley.com

Related:
The Vineyard
US
Becalmed
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Art of Racing In the Rain ~Garth Stein

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

The art of racing in the rain

This is a biographical work of fiction about a dog as told by a dog.  It is about living in Seattle, Washington and about racing cars.

Racing in the Rain is a multifaceted love story.  It is a hard story and an easy read.  Stein is a very delightful wordsmith who seems to understand and know love.

“The true hero is flawed.  The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles – preferably of his own making – in orders to triumph.  A hero without a flaw is of no interests to an audience or to the universe, which, after all, is based on conflict and opposition the irresistible force meeting the unmovable object.”

Mr. Stein has done a great deal of research as it appears from his bio that he is not a Washington native, but rather has come here with new eyes and he liked what he experienced and saw.  He knows dogs and he shares the communications of gestures and myths in a believable manner and fashion.  Stein knows car racing and expounds its practice, theories and the people involved in camaraderie of wisdom.  He knows people and their strange and quirky actions; he only explores one individual and his life and loves via his dog’s understanding.

“People are always worried about what’s happening next.  They often find it difficult to stand still, to occupy the now without worrying about the future.  People are not generally satisfied with what they have; they are very concerned with what they are going to have.”

I would never have chosen this book to read, and our book group has a rule that everyone gets to choose the book they want to have the group read – their own style.  I am so happy that Deb found this book and is insisting we all read it as her birthday gift this July.

I am very happy that it was a fictional story by a very good writer because I have felt the pressure of too many self- help books in a row.  A little good fantasy goes a long way to enjoying the moments of relaxation in our lives.

I try to avoid animal stories because they always – DIE.

Rain is an important part of this story and it could not have been told without this element

5 Ladybugs

“The visible becomes inevitable.  The car goes where the eyes go.”

Cute Enzo video here too!

No one paid me or gave me anything to read and write about this book.  Well, Deb insisted! But I bought the book myself and wanted to share this delightful read with you.  If you purchase any item from Amazon from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket or one could donate the purchase of a cuppa!

Related Reading:
Ecotopia
The Help
Teaching a Pup to Rain Walk
Merle’s Door: Lessons of a free thinking dog