She thinks it’s because she was almost drowned as a baby and has a number of health problems as a result. And she is the only member of the family with red hair. Her difference makes her quiet and watchful. Unlike her brothers and sisters she’s never been sent to school and she has never learned to read or write. She has to teach herself in secret because she knows that knowledge is power. She plans her escape, but time and time again she is pushed back. Her freedom eventually comes in a very unexpected way.
This is one of the most moving books I’ve read in a long time. The narrative itself is song-like in the way the prose moves. It reminded me initially of Eimear McBride’s ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’, mainly because the narrative voice of the girl is so distinctive and haunting.
The author, Avril Joy, was the first winner of the Costa short story award, with ‘Millie and Bird’. That story has been much anthologised and my reading group absolutely loved it. Avril’s written three previous books, all very different from each other. I’ve enjoyed all of them, but this is definitely her best. I could have gone on listening to that voice for ever.
Sometimes a River Song is published by Linen Press, a boutique publisher specialising in women’s writing. It’s also available from Amazon as an e-book and, from 27th April, in paperback in all good bookshops (and Amazon whatever it says about delivery!).
Linen Press - Fine writing by women for women
Order direct from Linen Press
Millie and Bird - Tales of Paradise, Iron Press, 2015
The Orchid House - Room to Write (currently free on Kindle Unlimited)
The Sweet Track - Flambard Press
For more information please visit Avril's website 'Write what you love - love what you write'.