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History Shift: Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, reviewed

October 11, 2017



A paperback with thick pages, thick paragraphs, sentences short and long, built with words that rush whether or not you know their meaning. This is Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, David Connerley Nahm’s first novel (Two Dollar Radio, 2014). Nahm crashes together the moments of a lifetime with the inevitability of the tide. Disparate moments situate themselves amongst each other, illustrating the necessity of each moment, each choice, in leading to the next. 


The story of a little boy’s unsolved disappearance is fractured into a chorus of images both directly related and so peripherally related to the child as to be not related at all. The reader, in search of answers, might find themselves lost in the home of an unnamed child in an unknown year in the small town of Crow Station, Kentucky; looking at a single moment as seen by any number of people, or any number of moments described as the same; entertaining a lesson in ancient and future geology. Each glimpse is natural, even as it rushes the mind away from the story you thought you were reading. 


Could the end have been stronger? Yes, I suppose it could have. But the nature of a story such as this requires an unsatisfactory ending, as unsatisfactory as a lifetime of searching for a little boy who, even if found, will never be the same little boy who was lost. 4/5

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