Literary Fiction

The Weight of a Moment – Michael Bowe

on
November 15, 2019
The Weight of a Moment Book Cover The Weight of a Moment
Michael Bowe
Literary Fiction
Villa Campanile Press
October 1, 2019
Kindle
308

The Weight of a Moment is a beautiful story about the fragility of life and the redemptive power of friendship. Nick Sterling, a Fenwick Prize winning journalist, can't move beyond a tragedy caused by one of his articles. Tom Corbett, a successful antiques dealer, is humiliated and shamed by an internet video that damages his business, marriage, and family. After their blunders, one shameful and one fatal, the two men run from their pasts, meet in a small Pennsylvania town, and, despite—or because of—the most unusual circumstances, help each other find redemption. Together, they make an unusual discovery that changes everything, one that unwittingly puts them back onto the national stage. Joined by fate, each man's journey is remarkable in its own right and only exceeded by their shared journey. In a profound final scene, Nick confronts his tragic mistake, asks for forgiveness, and the novel's title, The Weight of a Moment, is fully realized. Contrasting elements: big cities and small towns, modern and historic, priceless and valuable, compassion and condemnation, add to the richness of the tale. Critically acclaimed, this second novel from the author of Skyscraper of a Man is a brilliant sophomore effort.

Wherewithal

The Weight of a Moment is an absorbing novel that is psychological stimulating. The story explores the personal fallout that a moment’s action can have on the lives of two men, Tom Corbett and Nick Sterling. We are also treated to intriguing character development, touching on their past and exploring how they navigate their feelings of failure and blame, towards a resolution.

A fascinating observation in the story is how decisions and actions shape our lives. When we make wrong decisions, sometimes with the best of intentions, we at least hope for the opportunity to correct them. In today’s environment, acts posted on social media, illustrate the fragile persona we have in the connected world and just how much it affects our real world. While our fickle world will move to the next ‘big’ story, the content nevertheless resides in the internet’s deep memory lurking for the moment when it can be dragged back to repeat the misery again and again.

A sequence of family events led Tom to an uncharacteristic outburst, which was unfortunately recorded and then disastrously went viral on social media. The repercussions cost him his job and had a direct social impact on his two children. His wife – well she’s crying on someone’s shoulders. Tom inherited a farm in Shelbyville and when he retreated there to fix more than the property, he met Nick, the owner of the local newspaper, “The Sentinel”.

Nick has his own demons to wrestle with and as he narrates much of the story, it provides an intimate view of his anguish and his outlook on life. Nick is a prize-winning journalist, but when a news story ran with a photograph he chose it inadvertently caused the death of a young policeman, leaving behind a wife and two children. Nick left his high profile job with the Philadelphia Post because he felt hopelessly responsible and returned to Shelbyville.

The interaction between the two men, as they work together on the property and discuss their respective misfortunes, is wonderfully presented. This scenario of men working it out while undertaking manual building restoration isn’t new but how Michael Bowe creates an atmosphere with clever dialogue, an appreciative nurturing friendship, and an interesting storyline, is utterly enthralling. This story holds deep meaning and social observations, yet doesn’t lose the entertainment quality, and that’s due to the talented writing. The novel is poignant and relevant and progresses to evoke an uplifting belief that no matter how difficult life becomes there is always a way forward.

A real consideration through this fictional story is that we all need to think twice about our actions on social media and remain diligent and mindful of the impact we can have on ourselves and other people. I would highly recommend this beautifully written book and I would like to thank Michael Bowe for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.

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Peter Donnelly
Ireland

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley peter@thereadingdesk.com

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