Review from Left Bank Books, Belfast, ME

Every now and then, a small book comes to our attention that defies description. The Confluence is just such a book. First, it's written by seven men! That alone intrigued us. Second, we liked the book's tag line: "A Collection of Essays, Art, and Tall Tales." Third -- and this was the most compelling reason we wanted to read The Confluence -- we really liked learning that this book celebrates the importance of maintaining lifelong friendships.
 
David Van Wie, who lives in New Gloucester, was the first to propose that he and his buddies ("The Boys of the Grant") put down on paper their stories and memories about their 20+ years of "sharing close quarters in a remote cabin with few amenities" for a long weekend every June, when they gather in New Hampshire at the confluence of the Dead Diamond and Swift Diamond rivers to go fly-fishing. 
 
The happy result of David's idea is The Confluence, a story about lifelong friendship among seven college classmates (Dartmouth, Class of '79), each of whom has contributed chapters and/or artwork. 
 
David writes in the Introduction, "As the stories, essays, and even a tall tale (Norm likes to write fiction) came together, we realized we had assembled more than a collection of amusing accounts. The book as a whole not only provides glimpses into our lives, it also tells how we have grown and influenced each other as men, as fathers, and as friends. In a sense, you hold in your hands a confluence of our spirits, one that is in the context of our deep respect for the Grant and the sense of place it provides each of us."
 
The main draw for their annual trip is the precious opportunity to get out into the wilderness, away from phones, email, and modern life. It is also an opportunity for good friends to share their individual passions for life -- conversation, cooking, beer, wine, art, politics, music and more. It is a chance to catch up on families, careers, hopes, and dreams before charging back into the outside world.
 
Some 28 intertwined essays comprise The Confluence, covering topics as diverse as stinky outhouses, wine tastings, a lost dog, cooking, and a family's tragedy and ensuing heartache, interspersed with beautiful watercolors and photographs by several of "The Boys" (not to mention a few delicious-looking recipes!). 
 
Your devoted booksellers,
Nancy, Barb, Marsha & Lindsay

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© 2016 L. Philip Odence; most photos used by permission from Dave Van Wie