Tom Mahony’s Flooding Granite – Review by Lavinia Ludlow

Tom Mahony’s well-crafted book Flooding Granite details the life of a river guide named Zack as he maneuvers his way through dodgy excursions in the Sierra Nevada (both natural and social). Furthermore, he becomes increasingly haunted with the guilt of abandoning his child and girlfriend in the name of “freedom and adventure.”

Regret seeps from his pores as he reflects on this mistake in an almost reverse mid-life crisis: “Over the last year he’d sampled the joys of bachelorhood and spontaneous philandering. He’d enjoyed the life for a few months, but the hedonism had turned stale and pointless. As the year passed, he’d realized with building certainty that he’d made a horrible mistake—a tragic blunder, caught too late.”

So Zack trudges forward with his life, this time into the Sierra Nevada with a group of professional guides and civilian clients where they meet an array of challenges such as inclement weather, injuries, treacherous rapids, and dwindling supplies.

This novel has an earthy and contemporary writing style that reminds me of writers like Norman Maclean and Jim Harrison: “Sunlight washed over his face. Wisps of cirrus drifted east, a golden eagle left its pine-snag perch and flew upriver. Paintbrush, lupine, clarkia, and mariposa lily dappled the drab green slopes with color. A black bear and two cubs loitered in a riverside meadow, watching the rafts for a moment before shambling off into the bracken.” Cross that style with the adventure and suspense of a film The River Wild and you have Tom Mahony’s novel Flooding Granite in your hands.

This title will release over at Casperian Books on October 1st, 2011.

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