NOT YOUR RANK-AND-FILE BEDTIME STORY

 

Failure of Fish is a refreshing newcomer to those relatively few novels qualifying as fine literary works.  Addressing the age-old problem of individual moral responsibility, author Michael Sorbonne Robinson, Sr. explores the mind of a fatherless teen boy, who watches helplessly as his childhood community descends into moral ruin, ending up, literally, as the smoking remains of a once-thriving town.

Robinson’s  voice is the  young Billy Potter, who struggles in his own challenges of dealing with the loss of his father, the apparent duplicities of his mother, the clash of religious piety and scientific learning, and his own uncharted transition from puberty to manhood.

Set in Western British Columbia during the early days of Hitler’s first rise to power and the “war that would end all wars,” Billy faces the uncertainties of a changing world and the realization that even the remoteness of Stella’s Cove, B.C. doesn’t provide protection against the terrors of war. It is the loss of his closest friend that crystalizes his understanding that home is not really so isolated after all.

Written in a markedly older style, Robinson recreates the heartaches, fears, and disintegrating realities of a true coming-of-age hero. One of the books first reviewers had this to say: “I have just finished reading “Failure of Fish” and found it an excellent read. I loved teaching 10th grade English and coming-of-age literature. Billy’s character deserves status along-side Holden Caulfield, Huck Finn, Phineas, and the lads in  “Lord of the Flies” in their elusive search for identity and manhood. Were I still teaching, I certainly would have added “Failure of Fish” to my reading list.”

While not at all a suspense thriller, Robinson nails the sometimes shocking behavior of his characters, creating a final summary judgment for those who abdicated their moral responsibility to the will of a group. If you’re tired of bodice-rippers and the same-ol’-same-ol’, you will find this book a refreshing read.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Failure-Fish-Michael-Sorbonne-Robinson/dp/0692736417


Failure of Fish
Michael Sorbonne Robinson, Sr.
BroncoJockey Books, LLC (2017)
ISBN 9780692736418
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt  (03/17)


“Failure of Fish” by Michael Sorbonne Robinson, Sr., is the riveting story of the people and town of Stella’s Cove, a beautiful rural fishing community set against the backdrop of a majestic glacier off the Pacific Coast, in British Columbia. Over the course of time, Stella’s Cove goes through several economic ups and downs, with three major periods of prosperity. In between each economic boom, Stella’s Cove becomes like a ghost town with very few inhabitants remaining.
The town’s religious leader, Rev. Cromwell, plays a large role in the demise of Stella’s Cove. Cromwell is an angry, judgmental man, who seems to delight in the misery of others. Cromwell leads his Methodist congregation into a dark place where, instead of evolving spiritually, the people of the town regress, adopting a mob mentality united in hateful behavior toward people considered outsiders.
Most of “Failure of Fish” is told through the disappointed eyes of Billy Potter. Billy, just a teen when everything falls apart in Stella’s Cove for the last time, struggles with remaining true to his childhood loyalties as he develops his own moral compass. Ultimately, Billy suffers from the loss of close friends as the result of Cromwell’s influence on the town.
“Failure of Fish” is an incredible tale. Beautifully written, I felt like I was actually seeing the story unfold, rather than reading about it. The harshness of dwelling in such an unforgiving place was interesting in itself, yet the fictional inhabitants make it an even more compelling novel, one I truly found hard to put down.
The author does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. It was eye opening to follow along as the “sheep” allowed themselves to be led down the wrong path, time after time. Knowing that mob mentalities like these have actually occurred historically, and with devastating results, made the story even more realistic. When the characters suffered, I felt like I was right there with them, and at times it was gut wrenching. Due to the depravity described in some of the scenes, I would suggest that this story is best for mature readers.
Overall, I would highly recommend “Failure of Fish” by Michael Sorbonne Robinson, Sr., to people who enjoy historical fiction, especially with heavy psychological undertones. This story will not disappoint.

NOT YOUR RANK-AND-FILE BEDTIME STORY (5 Stars)

 

Failure of Fish is a refreshing newcomer to those relatively few novels qualifying as fine literary works.  Addressing the age-old problem of individual moral responsibility, author Michael Sorbonne Robinson, Sr. explores the mind of a fatherless teen boy, who watches helplessly as his childhood community descends into moral ruin, ending up, literally, as the smoking remains of a once-thriving town.

Robinson’s  voice is the  young Billy Potter, who struggles in his own challenges of dealing with the loss of his father, the apparent duplicities of his mother, the clash of religious piety and scientific learning, and his own uncharted transition from puberty to manhood.

Set in Western British Columbia during the early days of Hitler’s first rise to power and the “war that would end all wars,” Billy faces the uncertainties of a changing world and the realization that even the remoteness of Stella’s Cove, B.C. doesn’t provide protection against the terrors of war. It is the loss of his closest friend that crystalizes his understanding that home is not really so isolated after all.

Written in a markedly older style, Robinson recreates the heartaches, fears, and disintegrating realities of a true coming-of-age hero. One of the books first reviewers had this to say: “I have just finished reading “Failure of Fish” and found it an excellent read. I loved teaching 10th grade English and coming-of-age literature. Billy’s character deserves status along-side Holden Caulfield, Huck Finn, Phineas, and the lads in  “Lord of the Flies” in their elusive search for identity and manhood. Were I still teaching, I certainly would have added “Failure of Fish” to my reading list.”

While not at all a suspense thriller, Robinson nails the sometimes shocking behavior of his characters, creating a final summary judgment for those who abdicated their moral responsibility to the will of a group. If you’re tired of bodice-rippers and the same-ol’-same-ol’, you will find this book a refreshing read.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Failure-Fish-Michael-Sorbonne-Robinson/dp/0692736417

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Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite (Five Stars)

Failure of Fish by Michael S. Robinson, Sr. is a refreshing, coming of age story that will grip you tight and not let you go until you have read it till the end. The story is written in a unique narrative voice; you certainly don’t find many novels with this style of writing. This is different and challenging, which makes it perfect for readers who are on the lookout for something different than the usual, humdrum novels we read. The story is intense, engaging, and well thought out so that the reader can truly immerse themselves in the story and get lost in the pages for a few hours.

The story follows a young man by the name Billy Potter. The novel is set in the time of World War 1 and our protagonist learns about the world and himself in a harsh, yet very real way. Billy is just a teenager; he is fatherless and trying to deal with a changing world while he himself is changing with it. Growing up too early is never good and when one of his close friends dies, he realizes that there is no protection from life or the war. Sometimes, you have to grow up fast and fight your fights or else you will just float away and never come back.

What else can I say about Failure of Fish? It is a very smooth flowing novel; the perfect example of a coming of age novel that is unique, yet at the same time it is familiar to readers. You will connect with Billy and other characters because they are human and not some epic heroes that we see in other coming of age novels. The element of mystery and suspense is there, yet it does not overpower the theme of finding yourself and becoming your own person. This novel is unique and author Michael S. Robinson, Sr. has done a fantastic job with it.

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Reviewed By Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite (Five Stars)

I mostly read genre fiction. I’m not exactly sure why this is so, but I suspect that genres like science fiction, action adventure, and detective stories are easier for a young boy to jump into and understand, as opposed to mainstream literature. I started reading young. I grew up in my mother’s library, so it just seems natural that I would discover Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Rice Burroughs before I discovered John Irving. But I did discover him, and I realized immediately that this was good writing. I knew that this was about life, in a way that Tarzan or Sherlock Holmes could never be, though I still love them dearly. I have discovered another mainstream literature book that is good and about life in all its sadness, irony, joy, and confusion. If you like or even love these kinds of literary novels, then you should most definitely read Failure of Fish by Michael S. Robinson Sr. It will move you.

I liked the writing. It is good. I just don’t have the patience for mediocre writing in a literary work. Mediocre is for the genres. The right genre can pull mediocre through if the story is plotted well, but if you write literature, then by God you need to know how to write. Michael S. Robinson Sr. knows how to write. Billy Potter is as real to me as if we met in a bar and talked all night. His story is real. His questions are real. He is all of us who think and feel a little too deeply for our own good. The setting is very well done. I have not been to Western British Columbia, it is not even in my country, but I feel I know it now, and you will too. not even in my country, but I feel I know it now, and you will too.


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