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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2021
  • 9780578959368 0578959364
  • 300 pages
  • $12.95
Ebook Details
  • 08/2021
  • B09CF3FD37
  • 300 pages
  • $4.49
A Span of Moments
Robert Beech, author

Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Midsummer 1994, a disillusioned Jake Crawford quits a prominent scientific career and retreats to the island home of his youth, longing for its old Florida way of life. Within hours of his arrival, he becomes entangled in a deadly series of events involving a billionaire real estate developer and a reclusive bridgetender with a long-hidden past. Jake’s struggle to navigate those events will determine whether Marcosta Island preserves its culture and native beauty or succumbs to the same overpopulation and environmental harm that has befallen the rest of southwest Florida.
Reviews
Beech’s lyric debut opens in 1994, with Jake Crawford returning to Marcosta Island, his childhood home off the coast of Florida, after 23 years. As a bio-scientist who has discovered a drug to further the treatment of cancer, his disgust for the greed and callousness of the pharmaceutical industry has fueled his decision to try out a quieter lifestyle. In his first hours back, Jake meets up with Simon Bronson, the reclusive, hermit-like tender of the original wooden bridge to the island, who was a father figure to him in the past. From Simon, Jake learns that the “old Florida” way of life is being threatened by Derek Nielsen, a multi-billionaire who wants to develop the island into a tourist resort. The conflict between Nielsen and the islanders who oppose his plan forms the rest of the story.

Beech delves into questions about the true value of development, especially its cultural and environmental costs. His love for Florida comes through in the detailed descriptions of the island, its beauty, and “the sound of the gulf waves mixed with the soft whistling of the trees.” The character of Simon is well-etched, as are his internal conflicts and the reason for his reclusive way of life, and the symbolism of the bridge, its nature, and its ultimate fate add depth to the narrative. The relaxed pacing is in tune with the rhythms of life on the island, with a subtle weaving of the concept of karma from the Bhagavad Gita threaded throughout the story.

Beech succeeds in bringing out the inherent conflicts between development and conservation, reinforcing the idea that much American development, as defined by the rich and the influential, is a mixed bag, not beneficial to all concerned. His treatment of these themes (and the practicalities of local politics) is nuanced yet impassioned, resulting in a novel that will engage thoughtful readers fascinated by environmental issues.

Takeaway: A thoughtful, lyric drama of coming home again—and fighting to preserve it from development.

Great for fans of: Nancy Burke’s Undergrowth, Ron Rash’s Above the Waterfall.

Production grades
Cover: B-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 08/2021
  • 9780578959368 0578959364
  • 300 pages
  • $12.95
Ebook Details
  • 08/2021
  • B09CF3FD37
  • 300 pages
  • $4.49

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