Failure of Fish
Failure of Fish is a refreshing, engaging, and exciting new novel that I would deem as a very worthy successor to the pantheon of fine literary works. This novel addresses the age-old problem of individual moral responsibility as it explores the mind of a fatherless teenage boy who has to stand by and watch helplessly as his childhood community descends into total moral ruin before ending up becoming, quite literally, the smoking remains of a once-thriving town.
The narrator of this novel, speaking through Robinson’s voice, is the memorable character of Billy Potter, who has to struggle with his own challenges throughout his tale: having to cope with the traumatic and sudden loss of his father, the strangely apparent dual personalities and erratic behavior of his mother and his strained relationship with her, the clash of the uber-religious piety he’s been taught and the scientific learning he craves, and his own hazardous transition from a state of young boyhood into that of early manhood.
Failure of Fish is set in Western British Columbia during the early days leading up to World War I, which would soon become known as the “war that would end all wars.” It is here that Billy faces the uncertainties of a changing world and the realization that even the remoteness of his hometown of Stella’s Cove, British Columbia, doesn’t provide adequate protection. It is another death–the loss of his closest friend–that sharpens his understanding that his home is not really so isolated from the rest of the world after all. Although the novel was written in an older, sometimes obtrusive style, Mr. Robinson manages to recreate the heartaches, fears, and disintegrating realities that punctuate the process of maturation. While this is not to be considered in the genre of suspense thriller, Mr. Robinson does, indeed, nail the sometimes shocking behavior of his characters, creating a remarkable, if scarring, final judgment for those who have abdicated their moral responsibility to the will of a group.
I would highly recommend Failure of Fish to those who enjoys hearty novels and historical fiction–especially those with heavy psychological undertones laced within the story. This book will not disappoint readers. I found this to be a very deep and satisfying read. It did take a bit to get into the meat of the story, because the beginning had a lot of set up and backstory to wade through, but once I got through that, I began to truly enjoy myself.
BroncoJockey Books, LLC
Michael Sorbonne Robinson