Welcome to the book tour for Jonathan Koven’s novel, Below Torrential Hill. Read on for more info!
Below Torrential Hill
Publication Date: October 18th, 2021
Genre: Literary Fiction
Length: 190 Pages
Jonathan Koven, author of the beloved poetry collection Palm Lines, returns with a stunning fiction debut. Breathtaking in scope, intimate in its detail, Below Torrential Hill is a coming-of-age about family, memory, and reconciliation.
It’s Christmas, and strange occurrences are plaguing the small town of Torrential Hill: a supernatural comet, undead insects, exploding streetlights, and a presence luring people into the woods. But when the mother of Tristen—a wistful, fatherless sixteen-year-old boy—hears voices from the kitchen sink, all he can think of is running away.
A WINNER OF THE 2020 ELECTRIC ECLECTIC NOVELLA PRIZE
A FINALIST OF THE 2020 CLAY REYNOLDS NOVELLA PRIZE
“Remarkable in its empathy, successfully conveying the difficult realities of death, first love, single parenting, alcoholism . . . Both an ode to loss and to growth, a dialectic that produces a singular tone and a dynamic plot. Within these pages, Koven has constructed an entire universe, and we are left homesick by story’s end.”—Shannon Greenstein, author of Pray for Us Sinners
“Captivating, awash in poetry and sensual detail . . . beautiful, sad, and full of hope.”—Charlotte Dune, author of Mushroom Honeymoon
With one’s mouth agape, there is always more to swallow. And Tristen always wished to be filtered, chewed, and spit out bodiless as a dream, to be the raindrop plunging into white sea, to not shatter and spread wide the body, to pour out like the hungriest wound and demand to be filled at once. Happiness is to be loved to death. No matter how strange, the leap into silence demanded a sacrifice of the highest order. He came to relinquish his life for a different one.
His muddied shoes stepped through the brightly lit division in the trees. A hillside not far ahead oversaw the great abyss which nurtured the lowest regions of the wood, where the city limits were eaten alive by pine and lichen, where the meteorite fell just days before.
Canine laughter sprawled out against the void, just near enough to hear. Then, spoken slowly and dully like a voice from the sink, in the middle of the raspy sunrise, his name seemed to hum within an acute ringing: “Trist-en.”
The ringing grew and took hold of his arms and pulled him to the ground. The sky pealed his name unto him as he bowed over the whitening earth. He coughed into his chest. Frostbite and blood covered his skin from wrists to elbows. Curling his fingers into the snow, his knuckles cut deep; using them, he lifted his body and swung forward. He moved with determination, each spring forward going farther than the last. Everything was a cry to continue moving. It even echoed from fractures in the bark. Eternity was waiting for Tristen. His ankles were set in a motion too hypnotic to break.
Torn trunks pointed their roots toward the hillside where old snow whistled with old wind. At the hillside’s ledge, deformed trees met the capsizing sky, longing back to the morning’s jaw. Mist peeled back to reveal the ledge.
Tristen walked to it slowly.
The sound bawled from everywhere, two drawn-out torrents of energy. They droned the essence of shared solitude, unmasked arousal of vulnerability and, at the center of the sound, consonants proudly shattered and burst. “Tri-sten.” A cry so lowly, lovingly, morbidly exasperated— stretched open, crackling. All around him coursed a magnitude of feeling. Catching a deformed tree’s lowered branch, he waited at the ridge. These—these long waves, this sheer density—this heavy slowness were the years of his life that hadn’t happened yet.
Then, pushing down on the branch, it snapped halfway, and Tristen tumbled fast into a scar in the earth.
About the Author
Jonathan Koven grew up on Long Island, NY. He holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from American University, works as a technical writer, and reads chapbooks for Moonstone Arts. He lives in Philadelphia with his best friend and wife Delana, and their cats Peanut Butter and Keebler. Read Jonathan’s poetry debut Palm Lines (2020), available from Toho Publishing. His fiction debut Below Torrential Hill (2021) is also available, a winner of the Electric Eclectic Novella Prize.
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