Author: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Title: Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered
Reviewer: W. H. McDonald, Jr. – AAA Founder
A wonderful sequel and much more…
Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson follows up on her first wonderful novel “This is the Place” with what she is calling “creative non-fiction” story telling in her biographical and at times autobiographical book “Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered.” The author has taken some poetic license with the telling of some of these stories so it may be hard to discern the truth but as she points out with a quote at the beginning of her book by E.L. Doctorow, “There is no longer any such thing as fiction or non-fiction; there is only narrative.” So if as a reviewer I tend to treat this book as a novel then switch back to a memoir, please forgive me.
There are seventeen wonderful short stories inside this book regardless if they are 100% truthful or enhanced versions of reality. You will find them all compelling and well written. Some are heart wrenching, some will bring you a smile, others reveal more family secrets but all of them are poignant and entertaining. The author’s use of phrasing is most eloquent and flows like honey on a hot July Utah day.
The book’s stories deal with many of the same issues that Carolyn’s first novel did. However, I think the reader will begin to see how much more the author’s outlook and insights have grown and matured since she wrote her first book. The author feels more at peace within herself as she still deals with old issues and stories. This book show cases the story telling talents of the author. This is truly a great book and worth reading!
Reviewer: Joe Fabel – AAA Vice President
“Every family needs a bard” to insure that its message of remembrance is secured for the future members to treasure and enjoy. HARKENING is such a gathering of actions, memories, events and family happenings. It is a work which gathers the past to insure the future.
Each individual is obligated, it seems to me, to delve into family history, to discover those important ancestors and achievements (sometimes even the failures) which are the backbone of the personality of each of us. It is highlighting the “who we are” in this world of sameness.
Our author trolls past events discussed by parents, grandparents and others in order to put in perspective the forces which produced this gathering called “family.” The instances often portray activities centered around childhood and neighborhood as well as those prejudices which permeate each household.
Reminiscing such as is contained in this book is healthy and encouraging. Additionally it is instructive as well as entertaining since many incidences will appear common to so many of us and our heritage.
Read and enjoy because each page brings treasures forgotten over time for our families.
Become “the bard” of your extended family of ancestors and children yet to appear.