Sometimes a River Song by Avril Joy

Critics’ Reviews

An amazing, beautiful book with echoes of Eimear McBride. Avril Joy knows how to draw you into the story, right into the soul of the narrator. Aiyana’s voice is the voice of the river. I could have gone on listening to that song for ever.
— Kathleen Jones, author of A Passionate Sisterhood: The Sisters, Wives and Daughters of the Lake Poets

Original and beautiful. A tour de force. The narrator’s voice sings. I can almost hear the insects and the dip of the oars.
— Sharon Griffiths, journalist, author of The Accidental Time Traveller and The Lost Guide to Life and Love

A great feat of literary imagination which evokes the life of fifteen year old Aiyana, a daughter of Arkansas, living on the great river which saves her people from the deprivation of the dust bowl in 1930s America. Her voice haunts us and her spirit warms us as she weaves her own survival into a cloth where the weft is her determination to unchain herself from her illiteracy. Avril Joy infuses this original novel with an ensemble of highly evolved characters who add to a realistic evocation of the complex river community. This beautifully written novel will enchant readers, young and old, across the world.
— Wendy Robertson, author of The Long Journey Home and Writing at the Maison Bleue

There is a wonderful musicality to Aiyana’s voice as she talks of the moons and the river. I could feel the shift in the seasons as I was reading, so vivid is the prose here… A book about identity and secrets, I would not hesitate to recommend Sometimes a River Song; it is an original and compelling work.
— Kate Wilson, author
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The power in the novel comes from its use of language. Joy has convincingly caught the diction of the poor whites at that time and uses it in Aiyana’s narration so effectively that the reader feels almost at one with her… In Sometimes a River Song, Avril Joy has produced a work of haunting beauty which celebrates the courage and resilience of the human spirit.
— Jenny Gorrod, Dundee University Review of the Arts

I felt, by the end, that I had been reading an epic tale, not a novel – rhythmic, mystical, poetic.
— Alison Coles, BookOxygen
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A beautiful element of this novel is the subtle defiance of women. Whilst they struggle to create autonomy and freedom, the characters demonstrate how even in the most hopeless of times, women do not simply standby and let their selves be owned.
— Isabelle Coy-Dibley, The Contemporary Small Press
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One of the most moving books I’ve read in a long time… It reminded me initially of Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, mainly because the narrative voice of the girl is so distinctive and haunting.
— Kathleen Jones, author
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