LoveReading Expert Review of Many Rivers to Cross
Captivating and thought-provoking, this vital debut novel, inspired by real refugees and migrants, traces a series of journeys of migration.
Not to be confused with Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks novel of the same Jimmy Cliff lyric title, Dylan Moore’s extraordinary debut novel sets the scene for his heart-rending tale with the dedication “For Eyob, for Mustafa and for seventy million more.”
Few of us can forget the images of orange life-vests strewn on Mediterranean beaches among sunbathing holiday makers, of gaunt faces and frightened eyes as rescues are effected from frail and deflating boats in the middle of watery no-wheres. These images and more abound as Moore takes us into the heart of the migration story through a selection of characters that represent the 79.5 million people worldwide forced to flee their homes according to the UNHCR.
In Many Rivers to Cross Moore follows the story up-stream through David, a journalist, who traces a migrant route to our shores back to its source in the Horn of Africa, taking himself into as alien a situation as migrants heading in the opposite direction find themselves.
Across the story we meet failed asylum seeker Aman, sex-worker Jasmine, lorry driver Mike and more, each illustrating a perspective of the global migration story we think we all understand and perhaps too rarely consider more deeply.
Deftly and consciously avoiding the pitfalls of “vulturism” and the risk of cultural appropriation, Moore has written a beautiful, intelligent and essential account of an ever growing tragedy and in so doing raises vital questions that demand our answers, and quickly. And Moore knows of what he writes, not just through good research, although he has clearly done that, but as a volunteer for the Sanctuary project in Newport, South Wales.
The second line of Jimmy Cliff song from which the title is drawn is “But I can’t seem to find my way over,’ and for far too many this is the awful reality. What should appal us all is that they are forced to try.
The LoveReading LitFest invited Dylan to the festival to talk about Many Rivers to Cross.
You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Dylan in conversation with Sharif Gemie.
Check out a preview of the event here