The Journal
by R.D. Stevens
Vulpine Press

"Charlotte used to say that art was the highest form of human expression…. It allows us to put a little piece of ourselves and our perspective into the outside world."

Ethan has always been fascinated and confused by his mysterious sister, Charlotte. She is always seeing something in the world, thinking of it, in ways he cannot quite grasp. After listening to her father drone on about university, Charlotte leaves London and begins adventuring through the world. She emails Ethan with some regularity, but then the emails stop. When six months pass and no one hears from her, everyone stops looking except Ethan. Leaving his comfort zone, he travels to Cambodia with only her last email as a guide to start his search. He realizes that, as he searches for Charlotte, he is also looking for that mystery she always carried, that way of viewing the world, the answers to questions he did not realize he was also asking.

Steven’s book is a treat for anyone who has felt the touch of wanderlust and wonder in the world. The writing is polished and full of sentences and sections readers will reread, pause on, and think about before continuing the journey. The book is as if Kerouac went missing during his On the Road adventures, and his shy and reserved friend decided to find him. It is a novel that reminds readers of everything they have to lose and everything they lose daily because they let the experience pass right by. It is a tale full of big questions and discussions that manages to avoid being dragged under by their weight because it stays focused on the characters asking these things, characters with whom it is easy to identify. The tension about Charlotte’s fate helps carry the book to the final pages. This is a book to share with friends.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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