I am so glad I stumbled on this novel! Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. This very well may be the best independently published novel I read this year!
Elizebeth “Lizette” Karlson is an artist like her deceased mother was at one time. The origins of Lizette’s recluse lifestyle and fragile mental state unfold in a story that takes place during the early 1970s, a period when the United States was ripped apart by a distant war in Vietnam and a fractured society. The setting is the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound, a place where peaceful nature abounds and native people cling to spirits of their ancestry.
“Adrift in the Sound” is a story of reconciliation and coming to grips with both the past as well as the here and now. Flawlessly written in a flowing style of descriptive prose, Kate Campbell introduces each character at a pace allowing the reader to come to know them. The lifestyle of the young, seemingly lost generation that Lizette gravitates toward is raw and gritty. Her friend Sandy is a stripper who courts a boa constrictor as part of her act. Hard drugs are at the center of everything in the lives of the young men living next door.
Lizette’s relationship with her father and the role her mother played in her life are sprinkled in along with the rest of the story. Campbell uses symbolism and metaphor by tying the lives of the native people living on Orcas Island to the land and the creatures of the sea, in particular a large Orca, dubbed “Looney,” that hunts in the sound.
Though dark at times, this story has a warm glow to it that comes in the form of Lizette’s family friends, Native Americans with roots to Lummi and Salish peoples of the Pacific Northwest. “Adrift in the Sound” is ideally suited to readers participating in book clubs. Campbell includes some discussion questions at the end of this wonderfully written, thought provoking story.