A compact and touching tale of grief and self-discovery…
Set amid the backdrop and beauty of the Caribbean, Lockton’s haunting novel deftly tackles grief, trauma, guilt, adolescent angst, religion, and pedophilia. It was February 12, 1950, when 11-year-old Ethan Carpenter helplessly watched his mother dying of a heart condition. Frozen with fear and unable to get help, he is blamed for her death. As his father distances himself from the young boy, Ethan becomes increasingly quiet. But his life turns upside down after he is forced to accompany the mysterious Mr. van Rosendahl, a well-known but hated figure in the city, on a 2-months and 1500 miles long sailing trip across the Caribbean. Wary of Rosendahl’s unknown intentions, Ethan finds himself forming a gentle bond of friendship with Johnson, their companion on the boat. Writing with sensitivity and empathy, Lockton vividly captures the rhythms of his protagonists’ life on the sailing boat as well as Ethan’s distress and grief. The third-person omniscient narrative skillfully incorporates the protagonists’ backstories, and the slowly unfolding mystery of Rosendahl’s real intentions introduces intrigue and deep tension between intricately sketched characters. Flashbacks from the characters’ past add to the intrigue. Ethan’s restless time on the boat, juxtaposed with scenes from his joyful time with his mother, provide insight into his struggles in understanding his father’s aloofness and his growing fondness for Johnson. Following a traumatic and an emotionally charged time of year-and-a-half as he tries to make sense of his father’s rage and aloofness, Ethan maneuvers unexplored feelings of pain and abandonment, addresses tumultuous personal dilemmas, and learns to be brave. Ethan and Johnson’s endearing bond, facilitated by Ethan’s vulnerability and Johnson’s protectiveness, is one to be cherished. Relevant themes—that people are rarely if ever simple; life can be hard but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel; and to find strength, you’ve to look deep within yourself—are woven skillfully into the narrative. Lockton’s lyrical evocation of Caribbean rings as much true as his depiction of adolescent angst and trauma. Drawing from his extensive sailing knowledge, Lockton skillfully incorporates nitty-gritty of sailing, turning the book into an exciting travelogue. Employing a charismatic cast, expert prose, and intriguing storyline, Lockton artfully composes a moving and tender-hearted story of one boy discovering new truths about himself in this poignant celebration of identity and self-discovery.
Pub date January 6, 2022
Price $16.95 (USD) Paperback, $0.00 Kindle edition