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A review of Of Song and Water from Library Journal


Set alternately in the jazz clubs and small towns of the Great Lakes region, Coulson’s second novel (after The Vanishing Moon) tells the story of Jason “Coleman” Moore, a moderately successful jazz guitarist who is haunted by memories of his father and grandfather, both avid sailors, and a string of broken relationships. Unable to perform owing to a hand injury, Coleman drinks heavily, fantasizes about his proselytizing landlady, and attempts to salvage his father’s sailboat. The novel is nonlinear in the extreme, with flashbacks inside flashbacks inside flashbacks, and a few chapters are told in the same manner from the point of view of supporting characters. This leads to some confusion for the reader, especially when dream sequences occur that at first appear to be legitimate memories. Nevertheless, the book has a certain flow and rhythm that seems appropriate to its themes, and all loose ends are tied up satisfactorily.

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