Salford lecturer publishes 'powerful' novel about couple's struggle amidst global financial crisis

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

A University of Salford lecturer has published a ‘powerful’ new novel about the collapse of a marriage amidst the turmoil of the declining US economy in the run-up to and during the 2008 global financial crisis.

Dr Alicia Rouverol’s Dry River, which, after fourteen years in the making, was published by Manchester-based publishers Bridge House this summer and has been promoted via a book launch tour that began in June at Anthony Burgess Foundation. It has since involved events at both the New Adelphi building earlier this month and at the historic Bellevue House in Hillsborough, North Carolina, in August.

The novel, which spans from 1997 to 2012, follows Sara Greystone, a public defender in North Carolina who moves back to California with her husband after both their careers start spiralling and faces adversity amidst the crippling US economic downturn.

Since it was published, the book has been praised by fellow authors as ‘a touching, powerful and elegantly written novel’ and a ‘stunning, intricate novel of one woman’s transformation as she juggles family and career during the turmoil of the global financial crisis.’

Image is of the cover of the book with pebbles stretched out across a grey background

Alicia, who is a Lecturer in Creative Writing, says that she has been touched by the reception to the novel with book clubs both in the United States and UK discussing the novel since it was released.

She said: “It has been a really nice reception and the unexpected win for me is that the novel is speaking to people on both sides of the Atlantic.

“It is inspired by Wallace Stegner’s classic Angle of Repose, which is about a mining family searching for work [in the American West] and how it affects that family. I realised no-one had written a contemporary version, so Dry River brings that classic story into a modern setting and poses a number of questions about marriage and the huge impacts that economic shifts have on people’s lives.”

The novel’s beginnings came back in 2008 when Alicia wrote a first draft for National Novel Writing Month and, after furthering her studies in Creative Writing in the UK, she returned to the narrative to finish the novel.

After the book launches over the summer, Alicia will also be doing a London launch for Dry River at the Theodore Bullfrog pub in London on Saturday 2 December alongside other Bridge House published writers.

It is Alicia’s first published fiction novel with the writer having previously published the non-fiction book, ‘I Was Content and Not Content’: The Story of Linda Lord and the Closing of Penobscot Poultry, a first-hand account of the closure of Maine’s last poultry-processing plant in Maine that was praised by The New York Times.

A collection of short stories from Alicia is set to be published by Bridge House and she is also working on her next non-fiction book, The Men at Brown Creek: Lessons from a Penitentiary, which is based on interviews with more than twenty incarcerated men, eight of whom performed their stories for at-risk youth at a project in a North Carolina medium-security prison in 2001.

Dry River is available for purchase at Amazon, The Hive (UK), Barnes and Noble and at Bridge House Publishing.

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