When Chris picks up his brush and begins to paint, he transcends into another world where nothing else exists. Art is one of the main themes of A River in the Ocean as a man explores a life he never knew through his paintings.
The book has now been categorized under Sci-Fi as well as Drama and Mystery because it does have a few elements of supernatural in it. A little girl named Angel lives only in his imagination, and he can’t help but express his relationship with her through his paintings. The thing is that his other paintings are becoming a phenomenon in high demand. So, to keep her all to himself, he hides those paintings in a secret room only he knows about.
To pick up the pieces of a life he knows nothing about after coming out of a coma with amnesia, he starts refurbishing old furniture. It begins with the furniture he found in the old house he purchased. But he catches the fever for furniture, and word gets around that he’s good at it. So he starts fielding offers from people in town who want their old furniture brought back to life.
That brings him into contact with most of the residents of Fredericksburg, Virginia, the setting of A River in the Ocean. One day, he feels a strange urge to paint. So, he makes a run into town to pick up supplies and builds an easel on his front porch, where he begins whipping out masterpieces. Mountains, country roads, and river scenes are what he’s drawn to at first.
As his imagination of Angel invades his psyche, he captures those moments in paintings and loses time while doing it. His first painting of her takes him all night and when he’s finished, he has no idea how he did it or who she is. As their relationship grows, she becomes more real to him. So real, they have conversations like a father and a daughter would.
In one endearing moment, he is visited by her and she reminds him that it’s her birthday. His imaginary friend has a birthday? He finds it strange but the moment gets even more strange when he realizes that he built her a dollhouse as if he knew.
After sharing it with her, she takes it to her empty room in his house where she fades away, back into the recesses of his mind. Walking down the steps, he happens to notice that his secret room is open and there in the middle of the floor is a painting of her playing with her dollhouse.
He’s not losing his mind. It’s the memory of his daughter trying to fight its way through his amnesia. If he could only remember his life before the accident, he would be able to put it all back together again.
Art is such a huge theme in the book because I used to paint. I gave it up when my daughter was born, but she’s grown now and it really would have been great to introduce her to that artistic side of myself. I could have shown her how to paint. Interestingly, she grew up to love to paint and she’s very good at it.
But she was so full of energy and adventure that painting never crossed my mind while she was growing up. Maybe it will come back now since I’ve been exploring this book on its ten-year anniversary, and it has reminded me so much about everything that I put into it.
The book really is such a part of me and so much a part of her that I consider it my masterpiece. A totally biased opinion because I wrote it, but it’s my heart.
A River in the Ocean – He didn’t know he was looking, and she didn’t know she needed found. Available on Amazon!