I received a free copy of True Stories at the Smoky View for my honest opinion.
About the Book:
After attending the funeral of her estranged friend Skip in Knoxville, Tennessee, Vrai (short for Vraiment), a forty-something art history librarian with sons of her own, rescues ten-year-old Jonathan, who has been abandoned with no shoes in the funeral home parking lot. The Blizzard of 1993 strands this unlikely duo at the Smoky View Motel, where, motivated in part by the unsolved murders of Jonathan’s parents, they begin to uncover the truth about Skip’s death. With elements of mystery and intrigue, True Stories at the Smoky View is primarily a novel about relationships: the love Vrai feels for her husband and sons, all of whom have left home; her friendship with Skip, which she begins to see in a new light; and her deepening bond with Jonathan. For Vrai and Jonathan, this is a story of mutual rescue―one that results in new lives for them both.
About the Author:
Jill McCroskey Coupe has an MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson College and has had short stories published in Warren Wilson Review, Pebble Lake Review, and Against the Grain (where her story won that year’s fiction contest); the latter two are excerpts from her novel True Stories at the Smoky View. Please visit her website
I have to admit that in reading True Stories at the Smoky View I found a story I was not expecting from the synopsis. I still am not quite sure how I feel about the book. It most assuredly kept me reading but it was more from a desire to understand rather than an overwhelming need to get to the end. Now I am the first person to admit that I tend to be a very literal reader and while this is not the most literary of novels it is also not completely straightforward.
So, where am I? Was it a good book? Yes. Do I think that I might need a second read – maybe. Will I have time to read it again – no way. I’ll keep it and perhaps some time in the future when I’m no longer reviewing books. So on with my review…
Vrai heads to her childhood home for the funeral of a man she considered a friend even though he thought that she had betrayed him. She wanted to bring his belongings and his dog to his mother for some sort of closure. While there she encounters old friends and old lovers and ends up with the child of her best friend. A friend who had been murdered a long time ago. This young man, Jonathan is living with another friend but he is not exactly comfortable or totally welcome in the home and he wants to be somewhere else. Somewhere where he can talk about his parents.
The two of them come together in an unlikely way to forge a very unusual relationship. It also leads Vrai on a journey to a life she didn’t know she could have. But it’s not going to be an easy or straight road to the end point.
I do like a book that makes me think and this book certainly did that. The characters are all distinct and very well drawn. The story is unique and that too, was welcome as I continue along this year reading books outside of my comfort zone.
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