43169446Following his savage murder in a London vicarage, Reverend Ulysses Drummond embarks on an epic odyssey in the afterlife, wrestling with his conscience and misguidedly spurning the obvious advantages of a free ticket to Paradise.

His ten-year-old son, Henry, is left to muddle through life, encountering school bullies, big-hearted benefactors and cold-blooded killers on his passage to adulthood.

Will Henry find love, success and happiness in his life – or will he suffer the cruel and agonising death that was foretold?

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Amazon ebook 364 2QT Contemporary Fantasy December 7th, 2018

A bit about this book before I let my mind wander about all the thoughts it made me ponder on…

A reverend is murdered. Okay? In a really horrible way. But his death at the start of the book does not mean we don’t hear about the character any more. See, his journey as such, will continue in the afterlife. Very interesting take on it, by the way. I think that’s how I would want afterlife to be. Yeah, for sure.

We will continue to follow the murderers for the remainder of the book. And, boy, do we. What the 2 men get up to, it is not pretty. It is pretty chilling, in fact. If you’re easily shaken by heinous acts, then, you know, steel yourself a bit.

There is of course Henry and Amber and Sebastian… wonderfully written characters. Each with their own palette of human flaws, one more than the others. Characters to root for, character to hate. All equally important in how things turn out. I firmly believe that challenges and challenging people come to our lives to teach us a lesson. I also think that in the case of this book, Sebastian is a great contrast to the good that is Henry. After everything and every time, Henry will be kind… but will there be a line drawn in the sand? Will Henry grow a pair? Yeah, wouldn’t you like to know!

My favourite, Mr O’Connor. Having lived in Ireland for a considerate amount of years, I have enough cred to confirm that Mr O’Connor was Irish through and through! Loved him to bits! Great character with even greater buddies!

A lot of moving sideplots in this book, that kept indirectly brushing shoulders until they all fell into this singular flow… gah, how to explain.. imagine the Nile delta… except, let’s approach it from the South to North… all the branches of river becoming one. This is how this book was, every terrible, kind, good and bad thing did its thing and then came to this one great area.. a source. And that source is good.

I don’t know what else to tell you about the story… I mean, it’s fast flowing, its figure of speech is top notch, there’s humor and bitterness. There is sadness and innocence. There is incredible darkness and evil… It’s simply wholesome.

This novel is an ode to literary role models and symbolism. It is somewhat difficult to fit into any single genre limits. It has the magical realism, it has a contemporary vibe and it has crime. Crime in the most vile sense. It is a novel of terrible losses and incredible wins. A novel of consequences and outcomes, of relativity. If someone does x, it will cause for y to happen.

I think Kevin has written a novel that needs to be read in between the lines, that needs to be picked apart in terms of metaphors and symbolism. It is not meant to be a novel read at face value. Althought, you can do both. Do both, get the most out of this novel. Yes, art can always be only understood based on the receiver’s morals, beliefs and thus from their particular viewpoint. No one will truly see it as the author of the work. But, I know that authors, be it a painting, a book, or a musical composition, will love when someone has the joy of discovering and recognizing even one of the easter eggs hidden in between the lines.

Anyway, this book just massaged the brain and is making it go in all sorts of directions, so humour me… Let me waffle on about this, that and the other, for a bit.

I love this title. It sets the scene and the tone immediately. It makes you wonder: what the chuff is it all about, then? Well… It’s not about fish climbing a tree, really, literally. But then again, it is. See, fish climbing a tree is something impossible, and yet so many impossible things become possible in this novel. You could nearly count them as miraculous. At first, I thought the fish and the tree were symbols for evolution… life coming from water, fish being the symbol for INRI aka Jesus… and then we have Jesus who ends up nailed to a cross. For sins. And there’s plenty of sin in this book. Heaps.

Actually, the title is inspired by a quote that has been linked to Einstein, but which probably isn’t an Einstein quote: “Everybody is a genius: But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.

I love this quote, whoever is the original owner of it… If you judged me by my ability to understand mathemathics, I will live my whole life velieving that I am stupid. But, you know, I don’t think I’m very stupid. I can do a lot of other things.

And there’s a lot of that happening in the novel too. Not seeing one’s self worth, or placing that worth on something else other than humanity. Street cred, for example. Or money. This, in turn, is making the someone either naive and a victim of people happy to use them; or, turn them into someone who tries to prove their non-existent self worth through doing mean and evil things. It’s power, too, being feared.

Luckily, as fate would have it, some people, after living through incredible adversity, come face to face with luck. Or is luck fate? Is fate something more than a path written in stars by powers we don’t understand? Or, is there really such a thing like guardian angels. And if there are guardian angels, can they actually help? Or is believing in them a placebo effect? I like to firmly believe that as meatsacks filled with energy and atoms and chemical reactions, we are the only ones that can set the path and change the direction. And I can tell you this whilst I bang my fist on the table, so convinced am I. But, heh, there will always be a niggle at the back of my head – what if? What if I DID leave the house 30 seconds later because a guardian angel made me search for my wallet or keys or double check if the oven was turned off and thus saved me, in my car, from colliding with a moose on a dark country road? I mean… It’s a bit of a fancy! And me convincingly making my point whilst thinking so… makes me a hypocrite, and human.

Anyway… I will finish these ramblings by summarizing that it’s one of those books that entertains, gives you plenty to read in between the lines, and is filled with fantastic metaphors and symbolism that never seems to get old. And I will leave you with a couple of questions: One. When good things happen to you, when you hear a whisper of your name that makes you turn around, away from danger, do you believe it’s a guardian angel? Two. Do you let others define you by impossible measures? Are you the fish that flows through waves, first to hit the shore, but is judged on inability to climb a tree?