Tuesday 28 March 2017

Review ~ Ashes by Steven Manchester

Story Plant
February 2017

What's it all about..

Middle-aged brothers Jason and Tom Prendergast thought they were completely done with each other. Perceived betrayal had burned the bridge between them, tossing them into the icy river of estrangement. But life and death has a robust sense of irony, and when they learn that their cruel father has died and made his final request that they travel together across the country to spread his ashes, they have no choice but to spend a long, long car trip in each other s company. It s either that or lose out on the contents of the envelope he has left with his lawyer. The trip will be as gut-wrenching as each expects it to be . . . and revealing in ways neither of them is prepared for.

What did I think about it..

This is the story of two estranged brothers who, after their father's death, are brought together to undertake a road trip to fulfill their father's last request to scatter his ashes. Both men are busy with their very different lifestyles when they each receive a letter from their father's attorney informing them of their father’s passing. A condition of their father’s will is that the two of them should travel together which , it must be said, is never going to be an easy journey for either of them.

As always, this author's canny perception of the minutiae of life shines through and what then follows is a poignant, and, at times, humorous look at the frailty of human relationships. The brothers, once close, have since allowed petty indifferences to cloud their world. Ashes, sees them take the first tentative steps on a journey which makes them both re-examine everything important in their lives.

The author writes with his usual fine attention to detail, his trademark skill of strong characterisation and finely drawn observation comes across, as does his story telling ability.  As the story evolves we start to understand that there is more at stake here than just a journey. It's about the disappointment of family feuds and the danger of being too complacent when it's all too easy to stick, dogmatically, to a path without deviating. It's also about the power of family, of kinship and of the irretrievable ties that bind us all together, faults and all, and it reminds us that we are never too old to make changes.

Best Read with.. An ice cold beer, straight from the bottle..

About the Author

More about the author can be found on his website

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My thanks to the author for the invitation to read and review Ashes.


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