Coping with Ash

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For two decades, Ashton Taylor and Rich Dreadfulwater have been partners and lovers, until the fateful morning when Ash succumbs to a faulty heart of which no one was aware. Grief-stricken, Rich dutifully carries out Ash’s last wish, carefully filling the nineteen pre-labeled 35mm film canisters with his lover’s remains and mailing them out to friends, family, and ex-lovers alike. And while nineteen packets of Ash are released, each carrying directions on how their owner wished them to be scattered, Rich sinks into a daze of almost unrelenting sorrow, unsure of how to continue living without the man who made life worth it.

It took me a while to figure out what felt off about this book because, honestly, I really enjoyed it. As each package of Ash reached its destination, I could hardly wait to find out who had got it and how it was meant to be disposed of. What made it even more interesting was the fact that not all of the recipients got equal face time. Some have an entire chapter dedicated to them, others warrant a mere page. Some narratives focus on the impact the recipient had on a living Ash, while others cover how they’re meant to dispose of their piece of the former man. The sticking point was the realization that Coping With Ash is actually two books trying to be one. While the story of Ash’s final resting places is an intriguing premise, the secondary storyline of Rich’s struggle to come to terms with his Native American roots and responsibilities just doesn’t fit into the overall narrative. The story simply doesn’t earn the gravitas that this conflict keeps trying to push. However, I’d still recommend this book for the entertaining, sorrowful, wistful, and always human vignettes that tell a great story of one man’s life.

Reviewed By:

Author Michael Scott Curnes
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 294 pages
Publisher Inkwater Press
Publish Date 2017-Jan-26
ISBN 9781629014609 Buy this Book
Issue April 2017
Category Popular Fiction


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