About the Book, Dreams of Arcadia
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Publisher: Legacy Book Press
- Date of Publication: June 27, 2023
- Number of Pages: 222 pages
- Scroll down for Giveaway!
Veterinarian Nate Holub takes a job in his father’s Texas hometown, wondering if a city boy has what it takes to be a country vet. As he struggles to adapt, Nate reconnects with his family and discovers that his father’s accidental death thirty years earlier was much more complicated than he realized.
Nate delves into the past, afraid of what he might find. He encounters a resentful cousin, a wary town patriarch, a reclusive uncle, a beguiling hidden garden, and a mysterious illness. Nate is drawn to the Holub family farm, where he seeks refuge in nature and tries desperately to reach Viola, his inscrutable grandmother. The farm is a place that haunts his memory, a place where dark secrets dwell.
Dreams of Arcadia is a touching portrait of an American family. It explores the enduring ties that hold us together and bind us to the land.
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About the Author, Brian Porter
Brian Porter lives in College Station, Texas, where he works as a veterinary pathologist.
He previously worked in private veterinary practice and once taught high school chemistry.
Dreams of Arcadia is his first novel.
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On the surface, Brian Porter’s debut novel Dreams of Arcadia is a simple story of a man returning to his rural roots. But in the deft hands of this virtuoso storyteller, Nate Holub’s story is more than merely simple. Rather, it explores the complex relationships we all have with the places where we grew up, the people who raised us, and the dreams that were dear to us, some of which never came true, and some of which evolved into unexpected choices. In this case, we have a “big city” veterinarian who has returned to his rural Texas hometown to discover new facets of himself, and the father who died thirty years before. Nate is a father himself, which adds depth to the story. In addition to discovering truths about his family, he must also provide a strong foundation for his girls – one that is tied to the land he came from,
but not necessarily beholden to it.
I’ve worked in pet rescue, so I’m a sucker for an animal story, even when it’s really a people story, as Dreams of Arcadia is. In this case, I felt making Nate a veterinarian was a wise choice. Moments with the animals and vet staff interjected light and humor when they were needed, but also provided poignant counterpoint at times. I got a kick out of Nate limiting a local farmer on the amount of medicine he’d provide, so he wouldn’t treat the entire rural community. I also think Nate’s rapport with animals also softened some aspects of the story, like his relationship with his cousin Wink – who seems to have an issue with him – and with his aging grandmother Viola and his aunt Ruthie and her family.
I appreciated the pacing of this novel. Nothing was rushed, but neither did the story feel like it was too slow. Rather, this was the literary equivalent of a balmy summer day. You know crisper weather is lurking behind the sunny skies but you have time to savor the light and heat. I also loved the vivid descriptions of the land, especially the gardens – including one that’s essentially secret – where Nate finds himself. The land in this novel is truly a character in its own right. Part family drama, part “All Creatures Great and Small – Texas edition,” and part mystery, this book has elements to please any reader, and what’s better is that they form a cohesive whole and satisfying story.
Goes well with a summer salad with garden fresh greens, nuts and berries, and a glass of sweet tea.
Signed copy of Dreams of Arcadia.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 7/7/23)
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