A free black man in London wanders too close to the docks on the wrong day. A woman gives birth alone in a barn loft near an Australian outback crossroads. A mother removes her apron, walks away from her family, and tells her secrets only once. A woman in a California living room sobs as her husband informs the assembled adult children that the youngest is only half-brother to the rest. A mental health agent in Idaho struggles with addiction, bureaucracy, and an affection for one of her charges, a dark-haired transient from Australia. In Paula Marie Coomer's Jagged Edge of the Sky connections of blood and circumstance emerge from a kaleidoscopic narrative in which these and other characters navigate rugged personal terrains of loss and hope. The resulting literary landscape is spare and challenging as the Australian outback, mythical as the American West. With a relentless eye, Paula Marie Coomer flinches from neither the gruesome nor the humorous in this fractured tale of loners, siblings, parents, and lovers.
When I first read the premise of Jagged Edge of the Sky, I was intrigued and I must say a bit wary as I was worried if I would be able to follow the characters described. Once I opened the book and consumed the story, the case was to the contrary.
While I hit a small snag in identifying who was who in the beginning, I must say that it didn’t last long. I was able to catch on and follow along relatively quickly.
Believe it or not, I enjoy it when an author stretches beyond the bounds of what the common place number of characters would be in a given story. I love it because there are no rules to how many characters should be written into a book. Therefore I love to see what that author will do and what rules they will write for themselves.
Ms. Coomer, I feel, was on fire in this work. Her written imagery of lust, links, location, and even generational time periods was on point. Situations were interspersed and yet seamless. For instance, even though the characters are different and reside in various locations, they are interconnected and Ms. Coomer illustrates the links with more than just the use of simple sheer coincidence. You actually feel these bonds.
With Jagged Edge of the Sky, Paula Marie Coomer is upfront and in-your-face. Her language pulls no punches. At the same time, her genius is quiet and understated. I give this 4 out of stars. I’m definitely going to pick up another one of Paula Coomer’s works and I recommend that you do, too.
You can find it here on book depository where I'm an affiliate. You can also learn more about Paula and her amazing works!