It's a gamble to begin with the end. When the end seems so utterly tragic, a reader can understandably question the author's intent. "Is this guy nuts? Does he even know what he's doing?" Joseph Monninger knows exactly what he is doing in Eternal on the Water. And he does it so very, very well.
The story of Mary and Cobb is so splendidly written that I know this review will do it poor justice. I cannot accurately convey how very moved I was. How alive the characters seemed to me, how disappointed I was to realize that the Chungamunga Girls, Eternal on the River are in fact a figment of the author's imagination. It is a testament to his incredible talent that I wished rather desperately that I could be one, too.
Though I am highly unlikely to canoe down any great rivers, the author's description of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway is so enthralling and respectful and charming and exciting that I cannot help but yearn for a more adventurous heart, so that I, like Mary, Cobb, and Thoreau could learn the magic of that incredible place.
I found myself so fully immersed in this book that even the secondary characters became familiar somehow. I cheered and grieved for Mary & Cobb, but I wanted to weep for Myrtle, too. I became invested in Francis, and Joan and Turtle Freddy, and especially Wally. We should all be so lucky to know a Wally.
Better yet, we should all be so lucky as to read a book so good that it makes you wonder just who in your life is really a bear.
Mr. Monninger is worthy of each over-used literary review device. I won't bore you with them. I will, however, suggest that Eternal on the Water is a love story of such depth and tenderness that it now claims a proprietary spot on my bookshelf, and will be loaned out again and again, but I will certainly be requiring its return.
I sincerely want to thank the publishers, Gallery Books, for including me in this blog-tour. I truly love this story, and I am actually grateful to have read it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was given a copy of Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger to read by Gallery Books in exchange for a fair and objective review. I did not take payment from the publisher or author of this book beyond a copy of the book in question. Disclosure Policy