Published by Two Dollar Radio on 8/12/2014
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In her small Kentucky town, Leah Shepherd runs a non-profit focused on helping the victims of domestic violence. But in her quiet, reflective moments, she is haunted by the childhood disappearance of her younger brother, Jacob. Piece by piece, Leah relives her last moments with Jacob just as she encounters a final reminder of his presence.
“It is impossible to sleep in such heat, the body turning and twisting and tacky with sweat, so everyone stays up all night, listening to the chorus of crickets sounding the depth of the dark. And every night is every night that ever was all at once and every lonely boy prone in his bed is every lonely girl prone in hers, chests heaving with that painful pressure of hoping that there is someone out there unable to sleep on their account.”
Each page of Nahm’s writing is absolutely infectious. With a subtle cadence, he paints his story with brilliant familiarity; from the freedom of childhood summers to the confining restrictions of adulthood. Nahm’s handle on language alone would make for a novel well beyond most debuts, but when blended with the book’s unique structure, Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky moves into a league of its own.
Leah’s mind is constantly shifting between past and present, allowing haunting memories to seep into her waking life. Through this, Nahm manages to make dreamlike scenes seamlessly blend into the stark realities of poverty-stricken, small-town life. Readers more reliant on traditional narratives may struggle with the floating vignettes, but those who seek out new styles will be thrilled. With the intricacies and devastation of life woven into 222 compact pages, Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky marks the start of what will surely be an incredible writing career for David Connerley Nahm.