The Sunday Book Review: The Reunion, by Dan Walsh
Posted by Lisa Lickel on September 9, 2012
By Dan Walsh
Putting the puzzle pieces of life together is necessary work, one that is joyful for some and a challenge for others, full of heartache and despair and discovery about the choices and events that created the current situation. In his latest novel, The Reunion, Walsh explores these challenges from the perspective of a man who’s learned to appreciate a second chance at life.
Told from several viewpoints, the novel slowly pulls together a mosaic of lives affected by the Vietnam War era. Aaron Miller, a decorated vet who hit rock bottom before realizing he needed a bigger Influence to help piece his life together, works at a Florida residence campground, performing maintenance not only on the physical trailers and sites, but subtly on the people who come and go. Through his faith-filled eyes, he is able to see the challenges others face, and uses his practical experience to not only listen, offer advice where warranted, but also to subtly repair breeches in their lives. Now if only he could find the last pieces of the picture of his own life, the children he left so long ago, he could receive the forgiveness he longs for.
Miller’s life picture is filled in through his encounters with a teenager in need of help, another Nam vet ready to check out of life, his children who don’t know him, and a man who needs to find him. Dave Russo, the reporter-turned writer who is struggling as a single parent with a dream, is challenged to find the hero who saved the lives of his fellow platoon survivors so he can be thanked properly. Russo has only a name as a lead: Aaron Miller.
The Reunion reads a bit like a plate of spaghetti, many noodles combining to create a satisfying dish. Walsh peels away at his story line and characters through the thoughts of others. While sometimes I felt the story was watered down by leaping into another character, I appreciated each challenge and the amount of research Walsh did to develop a lovely novel of happily ever after.
“Available September 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
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