Kenneth J. Harvey: The Town That Forgot How to Breathe



Gs involved I was not happy sad angry relieved victorious tc My involvement in the story and feelings brought up by its characters slowly peaked somewhere in the middle of the book and steadily grew lesser from thereOverall I would give the story a three out of five Harvey s writing voice is an interesting one and some of his prose is uite The Soviet Union enthralling but in thend his adept storytelling came to a very uninteresting Gods and Heroes end leaving me only halfheartedly wondering the answers to the mysteries he had spun I m about to say something that I m notntirely prepared for Kenneth J Harvey s The Town That Forgot How to Breath is worse than Ethan Frome There I said it I said itWhat Edith Wharton had going for her was that the protagonists suicidal act of riding a sleigh into a tree to Science, Technology and Culture end their petty bourgeoisiexistence is hilarious in the worst way possible Harvey s novel does not possess that kind of humor Nor does it possess atmosphere characters plot creative language or anything that would make a book memorable Imagine a novel with absolutely no atmosphere whatsoever No language to tell you where the characters this is a very convincingly creepy read about a remote Newfoundland fishing town that becomes afflicted with and bizarre supernatural No Beast So Fierce events sea monsters in the bay the long dead washing ashore intact live fish suddenly flopping in people s barns A native son has returned from the Big City with his little girl who starts playing with a malevolent ghost girl while Daddy gets and bonkers Meanwhile long time residents of the town are being stricken by a mysterious malady that literally makes them forget to breatheSome of this is GREAT the ghost in particular is strange and terrifying and Harvey creates a uniue atmosphere And there s a nice vivid sense of place I felt like as surreal as the book was it still gave me a sense of what Newfoundland is like both the scenery and the cultureThe book is undone though by an overcomplicated and mystical plot It s top heavy with preachy Big Messages which ultimately sink it And to cram all the preaching in it uses about five subplots too many They all or less come together in thend but for most of its length the book is pretty unwieldyThe other problem I had was that it felt very static possibly because there were too many story threads for Harvey to pay attention to instead of building to a climax it just keeps circling back to the same disconnected scenes ghost girl wise old timer lady nutty dad locals forgetting how to breathe drowned bodies ghost girl freaky artist neighbor lady nutty dad not breathing locals around and around There s no sense of urgency or progressionI still gave it four stars because it creates a uniue and memorable atmosphere sort of like Italian horror films there s a dreamlike gothic uality to the nterprise that makes it disturbing without blood and guts And that little girl is NASTY Had a good 100 or 150 pages been cut this would have been a five star book for sure This book reminds me of an old fashioned ghost storiesNo violence or sexual perversion so I liked itThe story was interesting and the characters were well drawn outSo it takes a big leap of faith to believe some of the things that go onIt was a good and fun book and I am glad that I read it Kenneth J Harvey dislikes modern things like lectricity and baseball caps and the Last Chance Bride enlightenment and women leaving loveless marriages they re unhappy in He wrote a book that is basically a screed against these things So impassioned is he that he barely pauses in his preaching to develop character personalities orxplain why the army has brought Whos Cheatin Who? (Thoroughbred Legacy enormous machinery to a tiny fishing village or whatxactly they re doing with it What budget funded that project Disaster reliefThe book has its moments I like nautical lore and folksongs and only wish that had actually been written out Some of the characters were well developed and likeable Ms Larecy and Tom uiltey and Doc Thompson but the Blackwood family Joseph Kim and Robin anyway read like the R A Salvatore characters in FaeryTale unbelievable Occasionally Harvey forgets himself and writes a passage that s beautiful just for what it is the scenery the imagery the actions supplying subtle character development Doug Blackwood most notably Lawman Lover (Outlaws, especially in the seuence where he s carving the toy whale Actually found myself sinking into the book then Or Thompson in his interactions with his cat Agatha I don t regret reading this book I just wish of it had been like that Less stress on an overarching plot a message and focus on people in a dying fishing villiage trying to hold their lives together That s really where the book shines If you re the sort of reader that can ignore an author s hammered in message you ll probablyngage with this book than I did Despite the implications in the cover blurb this really isn t gothic or horror or anything like Lovecraft It s like a smalltown pastiche with ghosts thrown in Eastern Canada kinda scares meEight or so years ago a friend and I drove from Montreal to St John New Brunswick It s a nice drive lots of trees some solid vistas but there s a stretch of about 100km that has no City Girl in Training exits with gas I mean this was my first real driver s seat roadtrip I was looking for big service stations and I m sure there were little unadvertised gas stationsverywhere But as far as I was concerned back then this was a deadzone I breathed a little Mystery at Kittiwake Bay easier when we saw a sign advertising a Tim Hortons a few kilome. Is making them forget how to breatheRecent divorcé Joseph Blackwood has returned to his hometown in hopes of reconnecting with hisstranged daughter But when the young girl begins having visions and conversing with the spirit of a neighbor's deceased child he knows that his daughter is suffering from some supernatural afflictio.

First the synopsis found on the inside of the book jacket Something strange is happening in the seaside town of Bareneed Mythical creatures that formally Dangerous Waters (Cold Case Files existed only in mariners dreams are being pulled from the sea Perfectly preserved corpses of villagers long ago lost at sea are being washed upon the shore And residents of the town are suddenly suffering from a mysterious illness that is making them forget how to breatheRecent divorce Joseph Blackwood has returned to his hometown in hopes of reconnecting with hisstranged daughter But when the young girl begins having visions and conversing with the spirit of a neighbor s deceased child he knows that his daughter is suffering from a supernatural affliction Now with the help of some colorful village residents Joseph must unravel this paranormal mystery to save his only child So reading that synopsis I was very intrigued But first off I should say that it s slightly misleading Joseph and his daughter do not seem to be The Husband (Smytheshire, Massachusetts, estranged in the sense that they aremotionally apart rather they are only separated by his divorce I xpected them to have a rocky relationship but Robin very much loves her father and they flow uite well togetherSecond of all through the ntire book Joseph doesn t really actually try to unravel any mystery he doesn t attempt to solve it he s merely swept up in the confusion of what is happening to himself and his daughterAnd third the book is nearly as much about a few other residents of the town as it is about Joseph and Robin We are introduced to uite a few very interesting characters who all have some part to play in the happenings of the town and we learn their stories as well as Joseph s and Robin s All the while Joseph never really seems to delve into what is happening to his daughter and why she is seeing visions and talking to the dead really he seems to have known that it was always like this as it is revealed in Robin s own account that she has seen auras from the time she was a babeSo while the synopsis is a little off and what synopsis isn t really the book itself really captured me from the first few chapters The author weaves a very interesting mystery of a town that has become infested with strange happenings from the sea dead bodies turning up that had been dead for seventy or years mythical animals being sighted and two or three people who can see spirits auras and glimpses of the future One in particular Tommy uilty draws his visions and sometimes fears them and has full belief in all things supernatural It is said that when he was a baby he was taken by the fairies and changed returned to his home with the sight and made a simpleton so that none but the truest of hearts would love himIt is through him that many of the fortellings come and because of him that part of the mystery is solvedAs I got deeper into the chapters and uestions arose and I was pulled further and further into the stories There is Joseph and his daughter Robin visiting Bareneed for a vacation Claudia his neighbor a Victorian An Italian Education esue tragedy of an artist who had lost her husband and daughter many years before and slowlymerges from her glass house a continuously Protecting the Colton Bride Coltons Cowboy Code enthralling mystery to Joseph her daughter who shows up as a dead girl waterlogged seemingly drowned who repeats phrases about the sea and befriends Robin a black dog that belongs to nobody and comes and goes mysteriously an old woman who has lived in Bareneed herntire life whose fiance was lost at sea and who at one time had the sight but has since lost it and misses seeing the spirits come and go Tommy uilty the simpleton with the sight who draws his art and foretells strange comings and fears the things he draws Rayna the woman he keeps an Look-Alike Lawman (Texas Twins, eye on whose husband was lost at sea and who drinks heavily but is one of the few who truly treasures Tommy and many many othersAs he writes Harvey spins a compelling mystery full of uestions what does Claudia really want with Joseph and who is she truly Why are there people forgetting how to breathe What do the spirits want and why are the magical creatures coming forth from the sea How were the bodies so preserved Where did the black dog come from Why is Tommy so intrinsically connected to the magical things that are happeningAnd mostly I wanted to know why Claudia in thend appeared as a completely different person to someone Daddy Wanted else than she did to Joseph And why in a short section about Joseph s wife she and herxact situation appeared in a book that the wife was reading Was she an apparition as well Was she a magical creatureSadly by the Forbidden Stranger end of the book only a few of my uestions were answered in a very vague sort of way Tommy s role in the whole thing is revealed by way of assumption but the mystery of the black dog who Claudia really was why the spirits were creating havoc and where the magical creatures came from were never really answered There are some cases where keeping a few mysteries unsolved can be anxcellent way to Snowy River Man end a book but I felt there were far too many unanswered uestions when this storyndedThroughout it all there was not one solid answer for any of the things that happened There were causes and Night Moves (Harlequin Blaze effects that could be assumed one or two situations that partially resolved issues and anpilogue that read like a tall tale that vaguely covered what happened after the fact But there was no real satisfying Les brumes d'avalon : roman end to the tale I finished the book with as many uestions as I d had when I started and there were no real feelin. Something strange is happening in the seaside town of Bareneed Mythical creatures that formallyxisted only in mariner's dreams are being pulled from the sea Perfectly preserved corpses of villagers long ago lost at sea are being washed upon the shore And residents of the town are suddenly suffering from a mysterious illness that.

Tres on but that unsettled fear of the unknown the undiscovered sits with me Malakai (Wicked Games, every time someone mentions the MaritimesKenneth J Harvey in this book captures all of that the fear the uncertainty the understandable resistance to modern life the possibility that there s something out there that you can t uitexplain but that the residents in their small seatown way may know just fineThe Town That Forgot How to Breathe plays at Lovecraft via smalltown Newfoundland This is a traditional ghost story lanterns hung on the Victorian novels one character adores complete with creepy children and old ladies psychics and possession haunted houses and isolation Family and community of course are the only way out but the journey there takes some pretty twisted turns Sea monsters and obsessions and hallucinations coupled with the ocean vomiting up long dead but perfectly preserved corpses and ah there s our H PNow would this be a horror story without the cover brilliantly mbossed incidentally with a splash of clear water As a testament to the power of graphic design I don t think so Had the image been of a still lake you could read it as a semi surreal account of Maritime life railing against modernization As with so much the ffect you ll get from this book is dependent on youUltimately what matters most is that Harvey is an incredible stylist The three of his books I ve read differ immensely from Celtic Fire (Rogue Angel, each other andach have their own distinct world within them He s not a favourite author of mine admittedly but I recognize and respect skill and talent where I see it Though there s an omniscient narrator keeping the story together at the seams stylistically and narratively The Family Plan each character s own particular worldview bleeds through sometimes uite brilliantly Specifically when Joseph begins to lose his mind coming down from his prescription drug high I legitimately felt like I was losing it alongside him It takes a remarkable writer to pull that off and Harvey went from that to cheerful child voice in a moment BravoThe Town That Forgot How to Breathe could have been much shorter and less redundant could have used fewer characters could have been creepier It didn t need all the Newfoundland accenting or the repetition without payoff and I would have appreciated a bitxploration of the major themes closer to the A Family Practice end But it was unsettling andngaging and at times A Doctor in Her Stocking (From Here to Maternity even insightful and while I have no plans to head back to the Maritimes anytime soon I ve got a new appreciation for that stretch of uiet highway This book was really bad I am still amazed that I wasted so much time reading all 471 pages because it was pretty horrible from the start Admittedly there were long boring repetitive stretches that I scanned as uickly as possible There is so much wrong with this book where to begin did I mention it was long boring and repetitive How it could be so long and still not develop any story whatsoever or provide any cohesive history of the town and its people or fully develop a single character it has got to be an almost impossible feat for an author Some people got the breathing disorder and then some of them recovered And some people got sick but not because of the breathing disorder why wasn t the breathing disordernough of a calamity Oh yeah most of the non breathing disorder sick people got better too And then there were some dead people wandering around acting weird and possibly a woman who was dead or alive but who cares which or why because she didn t seem to fit into the main story at all So just don t read it or you ll start hyperventilating wondering why anyone got the breathing disorder at all because what does that have to do with a tidal wave anyway I could barely put this book down it has Celebrity Bachelor everything I love ghosts moodiness mystery great characters and setting And monsters The writing was fantastic and gripping and was not at all cheesy Often in stories involving ghosts monsterstc there is a lame cop out For Better and Worse ending but not here Highly highly recommended In this book Joseph and his daughter Robin go on vacation in a small Newfoundland village and naturally strange things start happening there s anpidemic that causes people to forget how to breathe coupled with drastic changes in behaviours centuries old corpses are being spit up from the sea looking as if they drowned only yesterday mythical or long gone sea creatures start appearing though some can only been seen by a few and of course ghostsThis is a nicely atmospheric book but though I liked it it suffers from Not Being Creepy Enough in my opinion Then again I m not Cassidys Kids (Maitland Maternity, entirely certain that the writer meant for it to be horror so much as something like urban fantasy The characters are all very well drawn the villagers mostly all have a touch ofccentricity without screaming Look how Rescuing the Texans Heart eccentric I am which is always a danger when writing uirky charactersThe writing style is clear and concise but still fairly complex and I felt the bits where the villagers and Joseph startxperiencing behaviour changes were creepier than the supernatural bits but that s fairly typical for me the possibilites of human behaviour are scarier to me than weirdness So other people may find it much creepier than I did I Wrangled (Whitehorse, MT: Chisholm Cattle Co., enjoyed this book but I think it was rather pretentious piggybacking off of HP Lovecraft s style whilst ignoring good character development I also found that the author failed to capture the rugged coastal province of Newfoundland and Labrador very accuratel. N Now with the help of some colorful village residents Joseph must unravel this paranormal mystery to save his only daughterCalled the literary love child of Stephen King and Annie Proulx The Town That Forgot How to Breathe is a page turning gothic tale and a profoundxploration of what it really means to live in the modern world.

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International bestselling author Kenneth J Harvey's books are published in Canada the US the UK Russia Germany China Japan Australia South Africa New Zealand Italy Sweden the Netherlands Denmark and France He has won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award the Winterset Award Italy's Libro Del Mare and has been nominated for the Books in