Posted by Literary Titan
Through the Waters and the Wild follows a discontented man who finds renewed purpose through his grandfathers letters. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?
Conor Finnegan was introduced in my first novel, Arc of the Comet, which followed his evolution from a confident young man with great promise through personal and professional frustrations that left him timid and unsure. By the novel’s close, Conor had just begun to recognize the failings of character that led to a deep-seated depression. He had also realized that the questions of purpose, time and place that we all must ultimately address had no easy answers. I felt his story needed to go forward as he wrestled with these realizations.
At the same time, I recalled stories of my own grandfather’s separation from his native land for reasons that, in the end, were not terribly different from Conor’s own angst. I saw a parallel between the two, and thought it might be appropriate to tie them together around themes of exile and redemption, themes that are universal enough to span the generations.
Conor and Liam are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
From the beginning, Conor Finnegan embodied noble characteristics – intelligence, passion, a well defined social conscience, and a readiness to engage with those around him. But at the same time he also possessed the serious flaws of hubris and inflexibility which compromised the application of his strengths. As such, I believe he represents the challenges we all face as individuals, regardless of our strengths and weaknesses. All of us must find a balance that allows us to develop our own passions, and our own purposes, while answering the timeless questions, Where shall I go now? What shall I do?
Liam Finnegan is a simpler character, and so an effective contrast, especially as his story unfolds through the swirl of the Irish Civil War. He responds instinctively and intuitively, discontent with the circumstances of what he sees as a pointless existence, but listening to his inner voices which constitute a highly refined sense of integrity. In so doing, he establishes a strength of character that Conor draws upon in his own struggle to identify his purpose and place.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
As noted, the book revolves around the themes of exile and redemption, framed through the central questions – Where shall I go now? What shall I do? Each of us, whether we acknowledge it or not, must ask ourselves these questions, the answers to which define purpose, identity and self.
Because we’re constantly in motion, constantly evolving, any resolution is temporary. In my mind, what matters is not the answers to these questions, but the asking of them. When we fail to ask them of ourselves, we stagnate, fester and ultimate lose a bit of our soul. We ask these questions to stay alive.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I believe Conor Finnegan’s story reached closure at the end of Through the Waters and the Wild. I’m currently developing a completely new character to continue the investigation and reflection of place and purpose. This new character will be more negative than positive, more failure than success, bitter and alienated. I’m hoping this provides a new perspective on these questions, one that may in fact underscore the need to ask them regardless of where we stand as we pose them. I’m hopeful that this work will be done within the next year.
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Posted by Literary Titan
Through the Waters and the Wild by Greg Fields tells us the story of the human spirit. The book starts with Conor Finnegan, a young American completely disillusioned with the way his life had come to be. Trying to get out of the depressive state that he was in, caused by a failed marriage and a meaningless job, he starts to read the letters left for him by his grandad, Liam Finnegan, and begins to gain a new sense of purpose through his words and memories. Liam Finnegan was an Irish farmer who spent his youth in Ireland during the Irish Civil War. Liam felt stuck in his home country, without a real purpose. Not wanting to involve himself in the Irish war, he fled to America, leaving everything that he ever knew and loved behind, in the pursuit of a dream and a meaningful life.
It is through Liam’s memories and experiences, that he left for his grandson in his letters, that Conor is able to find new motivation in his life as he tries to turn it around for the better. The most enjoyable and enriching part of the book is Liam Finnegan’s story. Most of the book narrates the hardships that Liam had to go through in life, the losses that he experienced, the physical and mental pain that he had to endure, and all that he had to do to build himself a life worth living. Through Liam’s story we not only get to see the effort that it takes to find one’s purpose in life, we also see and are able to learn a little bit of the Irish history alongside it. This all makes for a very interesting and gripping storyline, full of history and humanity.
The pacing of the story felt at times a little slow, especially when it related Conor’s thoughts and storyline, however, it was still very enjoyable and easy to follow through. The writing is excellent, the way that the author presents the character’s thoughts and experiences is simply beautiful, very poetic, I simply couldn’t put the book down. There’s a lot of reflection that one goes into while reading this book, the stories told can be very relatable, we all experience doubt, loss and loneliness, sometimes we get stuck and we don’t know who we are or what’s the life that we want for ourselves. This book revolves around all of these topics, around human nature and the hardships that one may face throughout life, which allows for some introspection and deep thoughts about our past, present and future. The story also beautifully describes the value and importance that love and family has in human life, something that I enjoyed reading a lot about.
I wouldn’t mind reading more about Liam Finnegan’s story, he’s definitely a very interesting man that had to go through some unfortunate circumstances, a man “born in the blood of oppressed generations”. The human soul is contained within the pages of this book. Liam Finnegan not only helps his grandson but also us, the readers, to navigate the hard realities of adult life. Through the Waters and the Wild is a story about finding one’s place in this harsh world and also about finding love, full of the hopes and dreams of the human mind.
Pages: 250 | ASIN: B08LHMCC5R
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