Monday, April 18, 2011

Splash by KIL Kenny

SplashAlex wants to spend one more season on the family farm before he's forced to sell the property and move on. What was supposed to be a reflective time is turned delightfully upside down by Jordan, the beautiful, laughing spirit Alex finds living in the cow pond. Needless to say, a pond is not Jordan's usual hangout, and as the autumn wears on, it's clear that Alex will have to find a way to get Jordan home before the first New England freeze. But if he succeeds, what will be left for Alex?

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Alex's inheritance from his grandfather is a piece of land with a pretty little pond, where the old man spent a lot of time. The parcel is much smaller than it once was, and the pond was once a bend in the river -- and that's important, it turns out, because there's more in that pond than trout and sunfish.

Something wild and elemental that allows itself to be called Jordan frightens the bejaysus out of Alex at first, appearing more and more manlike as he comes to "see" Alex, and as they come to understand each other. What grows between them might not be love, because they aren't equals, the gulf between them is the difference between the container and the contained, but respect, caring, and enough attachment to break a heart, oh yes.

There are sweetly humorous sections, such as when Jordan allows himself to lose control over his form in an intimate moment, and an unique moment when he reorganizes to become smaller, something unprecedented in shift-able man-bits, but this being knows better than anyone that shape is not defining. A couple of finny commentators provide asides that grow more sinister, until they become irrevocably entwined in Jordan's fate.

The beginning dragged, with several pages of exposition and backstory that could have been woven into the text instead of dropped as a lump, but read past that, because the middle and the end are more satisfying. Ice freezes and melts, water in ponds turns over, and broken hopes can be mended. 4 marbles



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