I adored this book. It's beautifully written, expressive and lyrical without being wordy. Monninger is a wonderful story teller. He takes his time with the story and focuses on the joys in Mary's life. His descriptions of wildlife and nature are outstanding and gives the reader a real sense of being there. He doesn't spend a great deal of time describing the illness (Huntington's disease) or it's symptoms. However, he does give the reader a sense of what Mary and her loved ones are experiencing. In that way, the book is incredibly sad.
The story possessed a dream-like quality. There was a little tension and conflict here and there, but for the most part it was even keeled and felt otherworldly.
Mary's study of crows was fascinating. The book is filled with stories and interesting facts about them. I learned something new and gained a new appreciation for them.
I loved both the main characters, Mary and Cobb. Even though I'm not sure I believe in love at first sight, I knew they did and I felt their passion for each other. I deeply respected Cobb's choices and wished many times that I could be as brave as he was.
The ending was incredibly sad and because of that, I had a hard time finishing it. Even with just 4 pages to go, I had to put the book down twice because I couldn't bear to go on. I knew what was going to happen, but I didn't know the specifics and was not prepared for it. Despite that, I loved every minute.
Mary to Cobb after she present him with an everything-knife. In a way, Mary was describing their relationship:
Remember, it may decide to leave you. Don't fight against it and don't blame yourself if it happens. The knife may be on a journey of its own(page 298).
Highly recommended. This is not a book I'll forget anytime soon. I look forward to more works by Joseph Monninger.
For information on Huntington's in this country (Canada) and how you can help, please the Huntington Society of Canada.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the Simon and Schuster website.
For more information about the author, please visit Joseph Monninger's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon and Schuster for this review copy. Thanks Anneliese.
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger, Gallery Books (Simon and Schuster), ©2010. ISBN 9781439168332(Trade Paperback), 344p.