MY third novel PUSHING THE RIVER (published by Amika Press) released on October 9, 2018. Here is the summary from the book’s back cover, as well as some praise from early reviewers.
In Barbara Monier’s third novel, a family crisis erupts when a fifteen-year-old becomes pregnant and decides to keep the baby.
As the book opens, Madeline describes her house as an empty shell inhabited by ghosts. She has been living alone for years, keeping to a few rooms, surrounded by the possessions of her ex-husband and grown children. Over the course of four months, people accumulate in the household one by one—including Madeline’s new love interest, who unexpectedly shows up carrying grocery bags full of his clothes.
The story of Pushing the River is told largely through Madeline’s eyes. As background and insight into her character—how she came to “push the river”—the unfolding action is interspersed with Madeline’s memories of her own mother, driving a message of sometimes-anarchic confusion, occasional angst, and powerfully abiding love across the generations of a familiar American family.
Molly K. Hales, author, Vital Ties: “Breathtaking…A must-read for anyone who has ever been, or had, a mother.”
Rita Dragonette, author, The Fourteenth of September: “Beautifully written! Entertaining and innovative, a jewel…that unfolds powerfully. An embarrassment of riches.”
Clark Elliott, author, The Ghost in My Brain: “Like a collection of fine impressionist art.”
James R. Petersen, journalist, writer, storyteller: “This is a novel about how women pass along wisdom [and] the power of mothers to embarrass. The monstrous. The methodical.”
Janis Post, Chicago artist: “I couldn’t put it down. So many stories, so much emotion. Two-word review: loved it!”
Ruth Hull Chatlien, author, Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale and The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte: “Pushing the River illuminates that tricky place so many of us live in, the intersection where our desire to remain rooted in the past collides with the need to move forward into an unforeseeable future.”
Jay Sheets, author, The Hour Wasp: “Fantastic read, great narrative and flow, hooks you right from the start.”
Mary Weismantel, author, Cholas and Pishtacos, Food, Gender and Poverty in the Ecuadorian Andes and Kitchenspace: “An intelligent and artful book written by a graceful and accomplished writer. On the one hand, the family Monier describes is fascinatingly complicated and her life is full of unexpected events; on the other hand, anyone will recognize some of the disappointments, conflicts and rewards that come with a life surrounded by those complicated human beings that we love.”
Gary Wilson, author, Sing, Ronnie Blue and Getting Right: “Barbara Monier has created a viable, vibrant world.”
Grant Leishman, Readers’ Favorite: “This could well be the story of any modern family, broken by dislocation and divorce. As a mother, Madeline feels the need to hold her fractured family together and to keep and recreate the many traditions that defined them as a family. I particularly enjoyed author Barbara Monier’s description of Christmas together, as the new cast of characters sought to compete with and dispute the traditions of Madeline and her children, who had also returned home for the holidays. Looking at Pushing the River as a social commentary on the family structure, I have no doubt many readers will identify with it, particularly Madeline and the struggles she has to begin a whole new adventure at an age when she should be relaxing and enjoying the fruits of her labour. I particularly enjoyed the flashbacks to Madeline’s mother and Madeline’s life as a child, which shaped the woman she was today. This is a very readable book and one that reminds us that we are not alone in our own struggles with family and the desire to keep it together and alive. Madeline’s abiding love for others is what comes through most strongly in the narrative and I am sure we can all identify with that.”