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Rowan and Eris by Campbell Jefferys
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Rowan and Eris

by Campbell Jefferys

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My initial response to the beginning of this book is that it brought to mind [The Riders] by [[Tim Winton]]. Interestingly they both hail from Perth, Western Australia.
Rowan, a luthier and struggling musician receives a series of postcards from various locations in America with a child's hand print on and no sender. He soon realises that they are from an American woman he had a week's relationship with while on holiday five years earlier. He surmises that a child has resulted from this relationship. With the help of his agoraphobic good friend and flatmate he decides to try and track the woman and child by following her around the states.
The book traces his adventures and the interesting characters he meets while in pursuit. It is an enjoyable read although marred by a few errors which could easily have been picked up by good editing and I have lowered my rating by .5 to reflect this. ( )
  HelenBaker | May 9, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book free in return for a review.

It is a story told in the 1st person about a tall, red-haired Australian man with a talent for building guitars, writing songs and performing with his guitar and songs.

The man, Rowan, begins to receive anonymous postcards sent from the USA with no text but showing the handprint of a small child; he conjectures that they are from a woman called Nola with whom he once had a sexual encounter which must have resulted in a child; ergo, he is the father of a five-year-old.

Rowan decides to find Nola and the child and sets off for the U.S.A. He has a good friend called Churchill who helps him locate Nola on the basis of the postcards constantly arriving from the various American states.

It turns out that Nola consciously creates chaotic events while she travels around, and regards these as art.

Rowan becomes more and more certain that Nola does in fact have a child, which is his, a little red-haired girl called Eris.

Nola is not a maternal woman and lacks loving feelings towards her daughter; she really just wants to get rid of her, so this makes the book a bit hard to read. Luckily, Rowan wants to care for the girl and we know he will make a good father, if and when he finds her.

To finance his travels Rowan busks (plays music on the street); he writes and performs his own songs, makes CDs and sells them. He encounters various interesting and helpful characters along the way. The book contains a lot about music, so if you understand music, you will find it even more interesting than I did.

I did not find this to be an essential read, hence the four and not five stars, but it is well-written and enjoyable. ( )
  IonaS | Apr 12, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I can recommend this book. It is enjoyable and funny, but even so, sometimes I felt sorry for the characters.
Rowan, an Australian musician and luthier travel the world to find Nola and her daughter Eris, who possibly is he’s daughter.
We are also told what happens, through the eyes of Nola, who is intend on creating chaos wherever she goes.
I will not spoil the plot by telling you more. Please read the book! ( )
  Bengan | Mar 2, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this novel as part of the Early Reviewers program.

I really enjoyed this story about a struggling Australian musician and luthier (Rowan) who crosses two continents trying to find - aided by a series of received postcards - a woman he had a week long affair with years ago who may or may not be travelling with a child who may or may not be his daughter. Along the way, rediscovers himself, his passion for music, and a way to perhaps finally "make it" as a musician. He's also aided in his search by his housebound housemate, the quirky and lovable Churchill - "ground control" in Perth - who slowly starts to rediscover the world around him as well. The way both of them try to live live to their satisfaction on their own terms is an important dynamic of this novel.

Meanwhile, via some chapters told from her perspective, we see the world through the eyes of woman he's trying to find - Nola - who considers chaos as art and tries to create it everywhere she goes. Being dragged (and, sometimes, drugged) along is her young daughter Eris, named for the Greek goddess of strife and discord.

When all of these paths not-so-suddenly cross (and the when and how of this taking place is what drives this novel), lives will be changed forever. I would've given it 5 stars but for 1 thing - I felt the "good" vs "evil" juxtaposition between Rowan and Nola was a bit too...stark? I also felt at one point that the novel could've ended there (because the first chapter foretold the ending, basically), but I'm now at a loss to remember that that point was! Anyway, really quick and interesting read!!! ( )
  tsaj | Feb 27, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Rowan, a young man from Western Australia suspects the unsigned postcards he is getting from different North American cities indicate that a brief holiday fling five years ago has resulted in a child. Accepting his responsibilities, he sets off to find mother and child, partially funding the expedition with busking. The idea, although implausible, was enticing.

The mother, an anonymous performance artist specializing in chaos art (read vandalism) was a despicable person, as was her mother, a wannabe artist. I felt desperately sorry for Eris, a five-year-old girl regarded as unwanted baggage. Rowan and his agoraphobic friend Churchill, who handled research and travel arrangements from home, were charming, credible characters.

We know from the beginning of the book that his quest was successful and he learned a lot about himself in the process. However, spelling mistakes, homophones, and long strung-out parts would have benefitted from an editor's help. It was an enjoyable tale, even if at times the topic changed so much that it felt like I'd picked up a different book. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Jan 31, 2018 |
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It's early in the morning, and a slither of winter sun is coming through the curtains, painting a thin yellow streak on the wall that says the same width, but gradually grows brighter.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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It’s a simple story, a journey, a search, a pursuit. There is a man from Perth, an American woman, their daughter. The woman is intent on creating chaos wherever she goes, through urban art, and her work extends to creating chaos in her own life by having a daughter. The man is intent on finding his daughter and in doing so finds himself and the songs inside him. It's a road trip novel, starting in Perth, Australia, and traversing America, Canada and Europe. It is also a meditation on art, creativity, success, growing up and taking responsibility.

A highly ambitious project, the book includes an a CD of original music, plus illustrations and song lyrics.
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