Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (03/17)
“Failure of Fish” by Michael Sorbonne Robinson, Sr., is the riveting story of the people and town of Stella’s Cove, a beautiful rural fishing community set against the backdrop of a majestic glacier off the Pacific Coast, in British Columbia. Over the course of time, Stella’s Cove goes through several economic ups and downs, with three major periods of prosperity. In between each economic boom, Stella’s Cove becomes like a ghost town with very few inhabitants remaining.
The town’s religious leader, Rev. Cromwell, plays a large role in the demise of Stella’s Cove. Cromwell is an angry, judgmental man, who seems to delight in the misery of others. Cromwell leads his Methodist congregation into a dark place where, instead of evolving spiritually, the people of the town regress, adopting a mob mentality united in hateful behavior toward people considered outsiders.
Most of “Failure of Fish” is told through the disappointed eyes of Billy Potter. Billy, just a teen when everything falls apart in Stella’s Cove for the last time, struggles with remaining true to his childhood loyalties as he develops his own moral compass. Ultimately, Billy suffers from the loss of close friends as the result of Cromwell’s influence on the town.
“Failure of Fish” is an incredible tale. Beautifully written, I felt like I was actually seeing the story unfold, rather than reading about it. The harshness of dwelling in such an unforgiving place was interesting in itself, yet the fictional inhabitants make it an even more compelling novel, one I truly found hard to put down.
The author does an excellent job of bringing the characters to life. It was eye opening to follow along as the “sheep” allowed themselves to be led down the wrong path, time after time. Knowing that mob mentalities like these have actually occurred historically, and with devastating results, made the story even more realistic. When the characters suffered, I felt like I was right there with them, and at times it was gut wrenching. Due to the depravity described in some of the scenes, I would suggest that this story is best for mature readers.
Overall, I would highly recommend “Failure of Fish” by Michael Sorbonne Robinson, Sr., to people who enjoy historical fiction, especially with heavy psychological undertones. This story will not disappoint.