Book review, Contemporary, fantasy

Book review: Merging the Drift by Tom Bray

Review in 10ish words: Intriguing and troubling- in a good way. Multiples POVs and complex. 3/5

Synopsis:

Merging the Drift is a multi-narrative focused on the perspective of four people; Danny, Ali, Kerry and Kitty.

In this magical realism story death is now what we think, and we are introduced to the phenomenon of “the drift.”
It is a story that forces you to consider memory, family, grief and most importantly what it means to die.

CW: child abuse, violence, sexual themes

My thoughts:

I don’t know why but lately I have been very intrigued by death, and how it is portrayed in fiction.

Merging the Drift is not what I would typically read, but the concept intrigued me enough to dive in.
The concept of “the drift” was a new take on the experience of death and like nothing I have come across before. I loved the desolate tone it set for the novel. I was very immersed at the start of the book.

I will say that at about a quarter of the way I found I was getting a little buried amongst the multiple narratives and the magical concepts as well as aspects of the story that I had trouble linking directly to the plot.

This paid off though as the ending was well executed and required the suspense/mystery created at the start of the book. I loved the interplay of destiny/fate as a recurring theme through the story. It was done really nicely and it was a major contributing factor to a satisfying conclusion that left me thinking about the story well after I finished reading.

The writing style was consistent and I was impressed by how well the author could characterise between each person and keep them distinct. Towards the start of the book my brain had trouble getting around Kitty/Kerri/Kirsty and I needed to look back a few times to make sure I wasn’t getting confused.. This resolved itself as I read on.

I connected with Danny’s POV the most. I found Kitty to be a little abrasive, but I was able to understand her motivations and her attitudes. Some of the prose is quite sexist and offensive but this plays to the characters within the book. It should be noted though that this may be an issue for some readers.

Read if:

All in all, I would recommend to anyone interested in the darker sides of memory, family, loss, grief and death. It’s not a book you can flick through. This one really requires a level of attention and concentration, otherwise it would be easy to lose yourself amongst the multiple POV’s and the complexity of “the drift”.

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