Book Review: Kathrine Sowerby, “The Spit, the Sound, and the Nest”

Kathrine Sowerby’s latest book, The Spit, the Sound, and the Nest, is a unique work of art that captured my attention from page one. Unlike the average novel set-up with a distinct beginning, middle, and end, Sowerby’s work presents three novellas that take place in unnamed locations over a winter, a day, and a week. Though not connected by plot, each of Sowerby’s diverse range of characters share the same thematic dilemma: navigating the weight of past and present.

“The Spit” introduces runaway teens Luc and Alex lost on a cold winter’s night. They are offered lodging and work from a couple who soon become an integral facet to the story, and, by winter’s end, the four must make choices that will change the course of their futures. “The Sound” begins with a woman who has chosen to live a life of isolation until disrupted by the appearance of a distressed girl and her baby. In just a day, the woman finds herself at an impasse, questioning both her solitude and the life she once knew. “The Nest” follows sisters Alice and Edna as they navigate childhood and the consequences of adulthood after learning of the death of their parents from their housekeeper.

What I appreciate the most about Sowerby is her ability to write both evocatively and poetically. From scene presentation to emotional discourse, Sowerby not only brings her stories to life, but exposes her characters on a more intimate level. In several instances, I found myself feeling the same distresses as the characters or sitting on the edge of my seat anticipating what would happen next. I’ll even admit that I gladly sacrificed sleep because I just couldn’t put it down. There’s just something irresistible about a text that embodies the beauty and heartache of human experience.

The Spit, the Sound, and the Nest is a book I could read multiple times and still find something new to appreciate. Though it isn’t a long read, the book’s brevity is what makes it more impactful and unique. Sowerby doesn’t provide neatly wrapped endings, but gives just enough information to leave the imagination humming with possibilities. This, I think, is essential to the overall intrigue, thus setting the book apart from the ordinary. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed nor will you read anything like it.

You can purchase The Spit, the Sound, and the Nest from Vagabond Voices.

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