Book Reviews

Yesterday Road- Kevin Brennan

Yesterday Road

“Joe apparently found it easy to go with the flow, as someone he knew used to say. Just go with the flow, but what did that really mean? What if the flow is going the wrong way?” (38).

An elderly man named Jack (at least he thinks his name is Jack, as his memory is fleeting) is found wandering along a country road outside of San Francisco. He’s certain of two things: he has a daughter named Linda, who he’s desperately searching for, and in order to return home, he must travel east. Along his journey, he meets unique characters including  Lance and Big Jack who convince him to help them commit a crime. Lance explains, “This way we can’t lose. The geezers like our canary in the coal mine” (21). However, Lance and Big Jack do lose, and “the geezer” wins. Armed with a boat load of cash, Jack boards a train where he meets Joe, a sweet man with Down Syndrome. After Jack gets kicked off the train, Joe follows. A middle aged waitress decides to help Joe return to his family in Denver and Jack to “points east.”

Along the way, Jack dreams about his past. “There was an empty space in his mind, the color that dream had become, and in it, as if dropped into the wide grey ocean, was the trove of his real memories, the facts of his life. Irretrievable. Lost” (60).

Yesterday Road is incredibly sad but there are humorous parts as well. For example, Jack carries a magazine clipping of Leonardo DiCaprio around with him, convinced that Leo stole his ID and money. At one point, a cop accuses Jack of being a kidnapper. “Oh no, who did I kidnap?” “Who the hell do you think you kidnapped?” “Leonardo DiCarprio?”

I thoroughly enjoyed this poignant novel and am looking forward to reading more novels by Kevin Brennan.

 

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