Book Review: Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge

Title: Castle of Water
Author: Dane Huckelbridge
Published: 2017
Genre: Adult Literary Fiction

Synopsis: For Sophie Ducel, her honeymoon in French Polynesia was intended as a celebration of life. The proud owner of a thriving Parisian architecture firm, co-founded with her brilliant new husband, Sophie had much to look forward to—including a visit to the island home of her favorite singer, Jacques Brel. For Barry Bleecker, the same trip was meant to mark a new beginning. Turning away from his dreary existence in Manhattan finance, Barry had set his sights on fine art, seeking creative inspiration on the other side of the world—just like his idol, Paul Gauguin. But when their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.

My Rating: red-starred-starred-star

*I was provided this book in exchange for an honest review*

I think I would have liked this better had I gone in with the correct expectations. This book is, without doubt, a quiet literary piece, mostly reflective and intentionally impersonal, recounting the tale of 2 castaways. Mr. Huckelbridge is a greatly talented writer, his prose is wonderful and for those readers that really enjoy reflective pieces filled with diminutive details, they will really enjoy this.

I myself sometimes enjoy such pieces, for example Station Eleven is one that keeps coming to mind. It has that same feeling, many stories coming together to tell an overarching one. This story is really about our male protagonist, Barry. A New Yorker who quit his high-paying banking job to get on a plane to seek out his dreams of being a painter like his idol, Gauguin. As all castaway stories go, the plane goes done and he along with Sophie (a French architect on her honeymoon) are the only survivors. This book’s beginning are what prevented me from enjoying it, there is a lot of what I consider to be unnecessary detail that stagnates the plot and I felt it did this book a disservice.

The first 150 pages are intermittent chapters recounting the tale of the castaways and the miscellaneous details that made the island as isolated as it is. For example, an entire chapter is dedicated to the 4 people who had found the island before in its near and ancient history. I don’t need to know all of this to appreciate the story of the 2 castaways. Once the book got halfway (and Mr. Huckelbridge described the mundane to intimate levels) the story went in a linear fashion making the second half far more enjoyable than the first.

This is by no means a bad book, I think this book had serious potential but I am a sucker for a good castaway story so I kept on and ended up enjoying it enough.

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