wow! i know the author! i love that...

my friend Michael V. Smith wrote a book.

(is it wrong to plug a book when you're kind of biased? maybe. but it's not wrong to plug a book when you're biased and it's a really good read.)

and Michael's first novel Cumberland is an engrossing tear-jerking (yes, Michael, tear-jerking!) tale.

Cumberland is a fictional small town in somewheresville eastern ontario. and Cumberland the novel is all about small town folk and how they relate to people they see every day and how even though you can see people every day, people have inner lives and pasts and really knowing someone takes a bit more than hearing gossip or asking them how their day was.

there are officially four main characters in Michael's tale: Bea, Nick, Ernest and Amanda. but actually i would like to submit that there are actually five main characters, the fifth being Aaron, Nick's young son.

I could've read a whole book about Aaron alone, that's how much i loved and believed in this character. that, in itself, is an achievement for a writer; not everybody can relate to children, let alone write them believably. and i think Aaron is actually a pretty pivotal character in the novel. in my mind he kind of acts as a foil to his father, Nick. Nick's importance as a character stems from what the other characters want to solve about themselves or their lives though him: Ernest feels emotions he doesn't understand yet yearns for around Nick, Amanda identifies Nick with a secure adult world she longs to be a part of, and Bea sees him as the link between her loneliness and the people she loves (her teenage roommate, Amanda that she mothers and her troubled boyfriend, Ernest, that, come to think of it, she also mothers. hmmmm) but Aaron's sad little heart sets off the crumbling of the walls around his father and partially* as a result of this the rest of the main characters are jolted into decisions and realizations of their own.

*only partially because, so many other things happen in this novel!

this is a character driven novel about characters you come to know and care about and plus, it's a page turner!

AND it's written by a friend of mine.

did you want more specifics about the plot? honestly, how could i do that without giving away the good parts?

and there are many good parts.

~if you love books and reading: support new writers~

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