Author: Jamie Harrison
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication Date: January 12, 2021
Book Description: Set against the wild beauty of Montana as a woman attempts to heal from a devastating accident, this generational saga from the award-winning author of The Widow Nash is a heartfelt examination of how the deep bonds of family echo throughout our lives.
For Polly, the small town of Livingston, Montana, is a land charmed by raw, natural beauty and a close network of family that extends back generations. But the summer of 2002 finds Polly at a crossroads: a recent head injury has scattered her perception of the present, bringing to the surface long-forgotten events. As Polly’s many relatives arrive for a family reunion during the Fourth of July holiday, a beloved friend goes missing on the Yellowstone River. Search parties comb the river as carefully as Polly combs her mind, and over the course of one fateful week, Polly arrives at a deeper understanding of herself and her larger-than-life relatives. Weaving together the past and the present, from the shores of Long Island Sound to the landscape of Montana, The Center of Everything examines with profound insight the memories and touchstones that make up a life and what we must endure along the way.
Rating: 3 Stars
Review: It’s only January 7, 2021 as I write this, and this reading year, already has the appearance of the being the year of complex family dramas. This story is told over two timelines, 1968 and 2002. Polly who has moved to Montana from Long Island with her family, is recovering from an accident, when her baby-sitter goes missing and is feared dead. Afraid that she has drowned, this takes her back to an eerily similar incident that took place when she was just a kid.
Alternating between the two timelines, Harrison weaves together a story that seems more mystery at times than literary. For the first two-thirds of the book, I was totally engaged and bought in. However, this book lost its luster towards the end. I found I was getting bored, but I was far enough along to stick with it. It is a solid story, but I think I need more dedicated time to read a larger chunk at a time. It was difficult to stay with it, thus me losing some interest. I really do think people will love this book, but just save this one for when you have some dedicated reading time.
Thank you NetGalley and Counterpoint Press for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.