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DAWNWALKER

At first glance, it’s solid, new-friends fiction

By Chris Poirier, editor

Oct 6, 2008: Note: I’m reviewing Dawnwalker now, after only 5 chapters, as we have a bit of a backlog of reviews, presently. I will rewrite this review later, once I’ve had time to finish the whole novel. Something I will definitely be doing.

Dawnwalker is a nice, pleasant, modern fiction read. The story follows Randy, Crystal, and Myleigh, three university students at Northern Michigan University in 1995. Crystal and Myleigh are roommates, while Randy is taking some kayaking lessons from Crytal, an uber-jock of sorts—the kind of girl who only truly feels herself when snowboarding or surfing or doing something else intensely physical. Myleigh, her friend and roommate, is quite the contrast—prim, proper, a literature student who loves Jane Austen, who speaks very formally most of the time, and who wouldn’t dream of going out in the dreadful weather. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a sense of humour. Randy is a bit of an everyman—not overly athletic (though he did some wrestling in high school), not overly academic (though he prefers to be at school to learn, not on any kind of sports scholarship). The opening chapters (with the exception of Chapter 1, a prologue set in 1974, possibly showing the circumstances of Randy’s conception [edit: nope, it’s Crystal’s conception]) are really just a number of interesting conversations and a bit of event—centered around school, sports, or music—as Randy hangs out with and becomes friends with these two unconventional women.

The writing is pretty solid. It’s told third-person omniscient, and the narrative flow is well-controlled. Overall, the story is rather heavy on dialogue, but I think that is where Dawnwalker really excels. With a few minor exceptions, the dialogue is clean and fun-to-read and, so far, all of the characters feel distinct and well-formed. More to the point, I’m really enjoying hanging out with these people—people I might well have met, had I been at NMU, at the time.

As I said at the top, I’m only 5 chapters in, so far. I’ll definitely be reading more. If you enjoy good, solid, modern fiction, I think you should give Dawnwalker a try.

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