I have a new review at Absolute Write for The Cure by Athol Dickson.
By Athol Dickson / Bethany
National attention settles on a small town in Maine, where damaged and wounded sufferers mysteriously find healing. Rumors about the town pass from ear to ear among those who most need a miracle. Destitute and nearly hopeless, Riley Keep hears of the phenomenon and journeys north to find out for himself, only to realize along the way that he is heading back to a place and people he abandoned long ago. A hope beyond his wildest expectations waits for Riley Keep, but will his past destroy this second chance at life?
This is how my review begins:
Athol Dickson's fifth novel is called The Cure, and its nominal plot involves nothing less than a one-dose cure for alcoholism. Wow! That's a good thing, yes? Terrific news. Life-changing. World-changing, even. For sufferers, family members, friends, associates, virtually everyone knows someone touched by this disease. Just imagine how much misery and suffering would be alleviated if someone found a cure for alcohol addiction.
Yet that's not the story Dickson tells. In a masterfully composed double memoir, Dickson unveils the life trajectories of the curer and the curee as each sifts through the horribly mixed blessings the cure releases into their lives. With this book, Dickson redirects his attention from the steamy oppression of Mississippi River race relations in his Christy award-winning novel River Rising to the frigid soul-searching of the homeless in coastal Maine. The locale may have changed but the in-depth exploration of society's outcasts continues.
The lead character is Riley Keep, the former Reverend Riley Keep, whose surname brings up all kinds of referents. Not least of which is the traditional prayer: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep." And his wife is named Hope Keep. But can she live up to her name when her husband becomes a homeless alcoholic and disappears for three years? And can Riley's soul be kept after the horrible scene he unwittingly set in motion as a missionary in Brazil? ...
You can read the rest of my review here. Or check out your own copy here.