Below Torrential Hill by Jonathan Koven Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young man struggling with his father’s death years earlier and his crumbling family life finds himself facing strange occurrences in author Jonathan Koven’s “Below Torrential Hill”, a unique and emotional literary fiction read with a hint of magical realism.

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The Synopsis

It’s Christmas, and strange occurrences are plaguing the small town of Torrential Hill: a supernatural comet, undead insects, exploding streetlights, and a presence luring people into the woods. But when the mother of Tristen—a wistful, fatherless sixteen-year-old boy—hears voices from the kitchen sink, all he can think of is running away.

The Review

This was such a moving and powerful coming-of-age story! The author did such an incredible job of crafting relatable and emotional characters for readers to become invested in while layering their narratives to get a much better understanding of everyone’s motivations and struggles, especially protagonist Tristen. The balance of the author’s genres between magical realism and literary fiction felt absolutely seamless and natural, allowing the reader to become invested in the character’s arcs while still exploring the world the author had created.

What really stood out to me was the incredible way the author matched the atmosphere and setting to the protagonist’s journey, almost as if the character’s surroundings became a reflection of their own inner turmoil and the ups and downs they went through. I also was really impressed with the fine line the narrative played with magical realism, as it allowed enough room for the reader to kind of draw their own conclusions from this aspect of the story, and kind of put a whole-new modern-day, coming-of-age twist on the classic Christmas Carol narrative. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, thought-provoking, and mesmerizing, author Jonathan Koven’s “Below Torrential Hill” is a must-read short story/literary fiction read with a hint of magical realism. The connection readers feel to the main character is immediate, and the exploration of themes like our innate need for love, family, and dealing with loss all come together in a very heartening way. With a writing style that leans towards imagery and artistry, readers will be hard-pressed not to grab their own copy of this amazing read, so be sure to do so today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Jonathan Koven grew up on Long Island, NY, embraced by tree-speak, tide’s rush, and the love and support of his family. He holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from American University, works as a technical writer, and freelance editor (and formerly head fiction editor of Toho Journal). He lives in Philadelphia with his best friend and future wife Delana, and cats Peanut Butter and Keebler. Read Jonathan’s debut chapbook Palm Lines, available from Toho Publishing, and his award-winning novella Below Torrential Hill, available from Electric Eclectic.

https://linktr.ee/jonathankoven

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