In 1959 an earthquake in central Vancouver Island devastated the lakeside community of Pyrite Ridge. The seismic event triggered landslides that isolated the town and killed sixteen people, while a geological phenomenon known as a segue caused the lake to drop an astonishing 150 meters. Perched on the precipice of a yawning abyss and cut off from the world by tons of rubble, Pyrite Ridge became a place of myth and lore. After finding a newspaper attached to a red balloon that supposedly came from the town, Travis Sivart, an Air Force officer struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, sets out to investigate the legend of Pyrite Ridge. After an arduous journey he stumbles upon the community, now known as The Segway, which is inhabited by an eclectic group of thirty people. Travis spends a week in the town, learning of its remarkable history and interacting with the unforgettable residents. Everyone has their own compelling tale of how they came to The Segway, creating an extraordinary tapestry that causes Travis to question his own sanity. Is there a connection between his personal demons and the tragic events of 1959? Life at the Precipice seamlessly blends fact, fiction, and popular science in a unique combination of drama and humor that will have readers wondering if the mysterious town of The Segway actually exists.
Teaser Trailer Available at: https://www.rfvincent.ca/
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 10 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.50 out of 10
Plot/Idea: Life at the Precipice tosses readers into the mystery of the enigmatic Segway community with immediacy and urgency. The plot chugs forward to a denouement that does not solve the novel’s questions inasmuch as it gives them permission to remain unanswered.
Prose: Straightforward, scientific text mixes with a more prosaic, first-person narrative to set this novel apart, and Vincent skillfully integrates dialogue with footnotes, diagrams, and character biographies.
Originality: Life at the Precipice is a stunning balancing act, built around a trip log that mirrors a nonfictional account while firmly establishing itself as a work of fiction. Vincent artfully straddles the lines of mystery, fantasy, memoir, and much more.
Character/Execution: Such a large cast serves to build the air of uncertainty and chaos within The Segway. Characters’ differing accounts of the town’s history—and their own—combine to drive the action forward.
Date Submitted: August 16, 2023
BookView Review (Gold Badge Recommended)
“A fascinating novel that will pull you swiftly into its world and then hold you completely. Un-put-downable.”
“A captivating literary blend of science and fantasy…Readers will find themselves as engaged as the protagonist, and they’ll share his bewilderment with a sense of excitement and wonder.”
The Prairies Book Review
“Mesmerizing, brilliant, gripping work . . . Readers will stay glued to the pages as Travis begins his investigation . . . A stunner.”
07/04/2023Interview with R.F. Vincent
Interview about Life at the Precipice.