Set in a river boat community in Arkansas in the 1930s, Sometimes A River Song, chronicles Aiyana Weir’s spirited determination to break away from a life, like those of the women around her, defined SometimesARiverSongand dominated by a brutal patriarchy…

I think how all my life be a drowning, only a step away from the boneyard and I wonder, what man want to kill his child? Take her spirit, her soul? What man throw his child in the river and say swim. How come he hate me that much?


In Sometimes a River Song, Avril Joy has produced a work of haunting beauty which celebrates the courage and resilience of the human spirit… Jenny Gorrod, Dundee Review of the Arts

An amazing, beautiful book with echoes of Eimear McBride. Avril Joy knows how to draw you into the story, right into the soul of the narrator. Aiyana’s voice is the voice of the river. I could have gone on listening to that song for ever.
— Kathleen Jones, author of A Passionate Sisterhood: The Sisters, Wives and Daughters of the Lake Poets

A tour de force. The narrator’s voice sings… I can almost hear the insects and the dip of the oars… original and beautiful… I read it in one great gallop. Sharon Griffiths, The Northern Echo, author of The Accidental Time Traveller

A great feat of literary imagination…this beautifully written novel will enchant readers, young and old, across the world. Wendy Robertson – author of Writing at the Maison Bleue

Completely stunned by it!  The power of Aiyana’s voice, the exquisite rendering of the river setting and life around it, the characters – it is incredibly engaging, immersive and moving.  And although there are shocking and brutal events… there is beauty and hope in abundance, not to mention love. Isabel Costello, On the Literary Sofa

A rich and compelling voice that leaps off the page. Claire Dean, Manchester Prize for Fiction judge

Joy highlights not only the individual strengths of women, but the true power elicited when women help each other…exquisite moments of subtle defiance in this novel, heart-warming transgressions  show women’s unwavering tenacity and potential to create change in the face of adversity. Isabelle Coy-Dibley, The Contemporary Small Press


Triumphant …This book, with its hopes for Aiyana being dashed and thwarted so many times along the way, could so easily have fallen at the last, but the conclusion, brought about by Aiyana herself, whose spirit is unbroken, is triumphant.   I felt, by the end, that I had been reading an epic tale, not a novel – rhythmic, mystical, poetic.  Alison Coles, Book Oxygen


There is a wonderful musicality to Aiyana’s voice as she talks of the moons and the river. I could feel the shift in the seasons as I was reading, so vivid is the prose here…A book about identity and secrets, I would not hesitate to recommend Sometimes a River Song; it is an original and compelling work. Kate Wilson – One Day Perhaps I’ll Know


Listen to Aiyana. Let her voice take hold of you, hypnotic and insistent as the river, as ‘the lull and rock of moving water’. Let her telling take you to the end of this, her own unanswerable story – unanswerable as truth is and as full of event as the river is ‘full of catfish and bream, turtle and gar’.

She’ll make you think, without trying to, about the way we treat the earth; about what’s wrong with it. She’ll make you think again as from the heart. She’ll make you think, perhaps, that poetry is something ordinary and rare as grandma ‘singing to the corn while she hoe’.

Listen to her.  – Gillian Allnutt – Poet, How the Bicycle Shone

Published by Linen Press

Available on Kindle HERE






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