This month my choice is Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris.
Told from the perspective of five seemingly ordinary characters on one fateful evening on a street corner in Salisbury, Fiver Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris is a masterclass in human storytelling. The lives of a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard and a widower intertwine and the novel takes us in unexpected directions which would move even the coldest of hearts.
This is a stunning exploration of life, grief, and extraordinary acts of human kindness. It is one of those novels that you find yourself desperate to get back to after a long day in the office. The characters draw you in to the point where you feel you might well know them. Norris is an author with a strong understanding of narrative voice and whether or not these characters are based on people he knows personally, you certainly feel in safe hands.
I found myself savouring sentences and writing sections down to make sure I memorised them later. I particularly enjoyed the character of George Street, an elderly widower whom Norris paints with empathy and kindness. There’s a scene which takes place in hospital which I guarantee will have you sobbing! Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain is not a novel which shies away from human complexity and for that I think he’s on the right track.