The Eye of the Day by Dennison Smith

1938. A small American town in Vermont. Amos, a poor but gentle giant of a man, is employed as a handyman by a patrician New England family. Aubrey, the son of the family, leads a rich and privileged existence. Ostensibly worlds apart, the two of them forge an unlikely friendship and are shaped for evermore by their meeting, as their paths continue to cross over the ensuing years. On the one hand this is a coming-of-age story; on the other it’s a tale of a friendship that transcends class and age and time, a tale of loyalty, courage and resilience.

I found this a thoroughly enjoyable read, and was puzzled to find, at the time of writing this (November 2015) only 2 reviews on Amazon. Published in May 2015 it’s most definitely a book that deserves far more notice than it has so far received here – although it has garnered much praise in the author’s native Canada. The writing is assured and compelling, the pacing spot-on and the characters believable and likeable. It’s not perfect by any means. Sometimes the reader’s credulity is stretched to the limit, sometimes the plot is just a little too convoluted and some of the sub-plots simply extraneous to the main narrative. But overall I found it absorbing and moving. The story spans decades and continents, and there are cameo appearances from real-life characters – from Great Garbo to Hitler – set against real events, and this background adds both atmosphere and authenticity to the story. Highly recommended.

Mandy Jenkinson
Personal 5
Group 5

The Eye of the Day by Dennison Smith
1859640613|Periscope Books pbk May 2015

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