Site icon The Prairies Book Review

Unlikely Return: A Novel by Nina Atwood

unlikely return


A finely constructed and meticulously researched, emotionally accurate tale of survival and soul-searching…

Atwood’s enthralling latest is an engrossing account of four men’s harrowing journey-of-lifetime after a botched fishing trip leaves them stranded on a deserted island. What was intended as a 3-day fishing expedition on the calm waters of the Pacific, turned into a long, exhaustive, and unnerving journey of survival on a deserted volcanic island for Ben, Stuart, and Paul. As the men become increasingly imperiled and destitute, they started executing desperate survival tactics in order to fend off hunger and dehydration. Days turn into weeks as they realize they have more in common than their botched-up fishing trip: lost in the intricacies of egotism and self-absorption, they have wrecked their past relationships badly. The harrowing expedition of the survival soon turns into a journey of self-discovery and renewal as they hope for a second chance at love. Atwood creates an exhilarating account of her protagonists’ journey of survival: the detail — where the men ran into the rogue wave and their repeated attempts at navigating and stabilizing through the 100-feet high wave, their seemingly endless drifting in the open ocean, and the attempts at survival in the rough terrains of the volcanic island— are sketched with perception and skill. The readers will root for Paul, Ben, Stuart, and Jack as they face hunger, dehydration, and death with courage and determination. Tony as the sole antagonist will draw little sympathy from the reader. Equally effective are Atwood’s delicately woven themes of love, relationships, and soul-searching into the narrative. Her understanding of the complicated framework of romantic and marital relationships and of the humanity’s ability to survive in the face of difficulties provides this story both authenticity and rationality. Her deft depiction of the intricacies of close relationships form a major portion of the narrative. She brilliantly conveys her characters’ weaknesses and uncertainties, and her portrayal of her characters’ renewal as people capable of steering their life in right direction makes for engrossing and, at times, stirring reading. This is as much a fascinating, action-packed account of survival on the open seas and a deserted island as it’s a story of love, family ties, second chances, and self-discovery. Readers will delight in these men’s struggles to resolve their past mistakes in this deftly intertwined story of survival and self-discovery. Lovers of literary fiction will be wise to pick this one.


Unlikely Return: A Novel

By Nina Atwood

Buy now

Pub date June 6, 2020


Price $13.95 (USD) Paperback, $3.11 Kindle edition

Exit mobile version