REVIEW: On the Edge of the Loch: A Pyschological Novel set in Ireland

If you enjoyed The Goldfinch, you will like On the Edge of the Loch, by Joseph Earnon Cummins. The story takes you deep inside the hearts and minds of two people wounded by life’s misfortunes. It is a story of love, sacrifice and healing. Through each twist and turn of the plot, a little more of each character’s inner thoughts and motivations are revealed. As each character develops and explores his or her relationship with the wild Irish countryside, the setting takes on a life of its own, becoming yet another actor in the drama that enfolds. The ending is surprising, yet satisfying.

Writers of literary fiction are always as something of a disadvantage when it comes to the majority of readers.  According to the author, “Popular fiction is generally simpler and more direct, whereas literary fiction requires the reader to work harder – to think more… figure things out and accept a degree of uncertainty.” On the Edge of the Loch is filled with uncertainty as the reader tries to understand what motivates each character to behave in the certain ways.  In this sense it is more representative of reality since we are never sure what makes people behave the way they do.

Literary fiction is focused more on themes than on plot. It typically involves social commentary, or political criticism or issues related to the human condition. The emphasis is on in-depth studies of interesting, complex and well-developed characters.  However, it is still important that the story has plenty of different plot directions and characters that readers genuinely care about. There should be a strong storyline that includes enough twists and turns to produce suspense and keep the reader engaged. This is usually accomplished through the inner story of the characters with detailed motivations that elicit emotional involvement in the reader. In this case On the Edge of the Loch does not disappoint.

The language of On the Edge of the Lock is poetic, although at times it slows the action of the plot. But this is not a criticism. The language of literary fiction is often lyrical and layered with a darker tone than genre fiction. As a result, the pace may be slower than popular fiction.  Like a glass of fine wine, it forces the reader to dawdle and linger and contemplate the beauty of the language even at the risk of losing its way.
It is fascinating reading and I highly recommend it.
 NOTE:  Watch this space in the near future for a follow up interview with with the Joseph Cummins
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