Snap Review: Invisible River by Helena McEwan

Title: Invisible River

My rating: 2.5/5


When Evie and her father say good-bye at the train station, they are both on their own for the first time since her mother’s death. But Evie is not lonely for long. At art school in London, she is quickly caught up in colors and critiques, gallery visits and sketching expeditions. She finds fiercely loyal friends-Rob, pragmatic and pregnant; Bianca, dramatic and Italian; and Cecile, the sidelined ballerina-and stumbles tentatively toward a relationship with Zeb, a second-year sculptor with hair blue-black like a crow.
But when her father arrives in the city, sour with alcohol and slumped on the doorstep of her new home, Evie must determine what she owes her past, and how it will shape the life, and the art, she’s trying to create.
Gently and genuinely observed, written with painterly beauty, Invisible River is an unforgettable novel of the mysteries, desolations, and heart-soaring hopes of entering adulthood.

Snap Review:

I was initially excited about this novel because of the London and art tie-in. However, Part 1 out of 4 was pretty rough and all over the place, trying to establish a plot and character development. I felt that there was more depth and content in Parts 2-4 that held my interest and included interesting turning points. The death of Evie’s father was unexpected, but there is a reality there of him making his own choices although she blames herself for kicking him out for his alcoholism and grievance over the death of her mother years ago. Evie understands that his pain is gone, as Evie going to college that year increased his loneliness, further adding to her guilt although it comes back to the choices we all make. Beyond the struggle to engage in the first quarter of the novel, it is a quick 1-day read that teaches readers about art and the bigger picture meaning of life in our actions and perspectives, which may or may not be in conjunction with those around us.

Quotes to leave you with:

“around every river is an invisible river. It extends all around, down, and to the side for 500 feet, and it’s full of micro-organisms, and the health of the river depends on the health of the invisible river. And I suppose that every city is an invisible city also” (McEwan 29).

“Everything in the Universe is lit by its own inner light” (McEwan 202).

“That’s why people paint…why they write music or sing or make films. Because they can’t stand it either” (McEwan 239)

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