Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PortsidePortside by Elyan Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published June 18th 2012 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN13 9781937551414

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I don't know how I feel about this book and yet it earns an undeniable 5 stars.

I'm left unsure, but not about the writing, or the characters, or the story. I'm not exactly unsettled either. Maybe the best way to describe what I'm left with is that I am so blown away by the writing that it's difficult to sort through my thoughts.


Elyan Smith has written one of the tightest and most vivid books I've come across. The imagery created is almost a little, too real. This is life. This is reality. In a way that feels very raw, the author exposes the reader to a place too common, that we easily and often ignore. Not only did the author accomplish placing me in this depressed town, where I could literally feel the environment, he also placed me right next to Iwan. Rather than only seeing the world from Iwan's eyes, I was also able to see the world looking at Iwan. Or, maybe that was just me looking to see Iwan.


Iwan has accepted his life for what it is. He doesn't hope, he doesn't dream but he still, wants. Some of my confusion for writing this review comes down to Iwan's character. Not because he isn't very well written but because I'm not sure if I feel contented or not about Iwan. And yet, I wouldn't change a thing about him.

Lyn is hard, rough and probably the best friend Iwan could have. She is an excellent supporting character.

Tommy's character could have been written so differently, but I have to say how much I appreciate the author choosing to take this path with him. I think 100 other author's would have chosen to take a different approach with Tommy but again, he was perfectly created.

Jonah has me disconcerted. I don't know what he knows, what he understands or what he feels. I think that is by design though and it is not a derogatory statement on his character. In fact, he is what gives me hope in this story.

"What do you want? Jonah called..."
..."Nothing." The wind dragged the word from Iwan's mouth."

This book is filled with innuendo and allusion and through that, and a second read-through I found myself understanding things I don't understand. Thank you Mr. Smith for a brilliant book. I will be seeking out more of your work, to be sure.

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