Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: CENTURIES OF JUNE by Keith Donohue

4 of 5 stars

Copy provided by Goldberg McDuffie Communications, NYC.

CENTURIES OF JUNE is the story of one man’s journey when he’s confronted with haphazardness of life. The book opens with a man, we later learn his name is Jack, who somehow falls in the bathroom and hits his head. From an awkward position on the bathroom floor, he watches helplessly as “a scarlet river seeped into the grout.” It is a compelling opening and I was curious to see what the author would offer up next.

Mr. Donohue tells an intriguing and engaging tale. Jack is no longer on the floor with a hole in his head, but healed and wearing a bathrobe. He soon discovers that there are 8 women in his bed. He returns to the scene of the fall, and along with an older man he believes to be his father, listens while the women unfold their stories. One by one, the women enter the bathroom and tell tales of love, disappointment, murder and betrayal. Somehow Jack is always at the center of each one even though the stories span centuries in American history. It is this personal connection with each story that keeps the reader reeled in. Add into the mix a dash of humor and a talking cat named Harpo and you have part dream sequence, fantasy and mythology all rolled into one.

While I found each story entertaining and unique, the book meanders along. There is no careening toward a climax, but instead the author takes the reader on a wonderful ride. I found I could put the book down between stories and it took me longer than usual to read it. However, the eighth and final story is the most compelling of all and a great twist to the book. This is the story you cannot put down and must read to its unexpected conclusion.

I thoroughly enjoyed CENTURIES OF JUNE and would recommend it to those who love to be entertained by a story with a good twist. The author has a fantastic writing style and I look forward to reading some of his earlier novels.