Tuesday, July 18, 2006
My father once told me that you did not really know your family until you attempted to split an inheritance with them. Author Robert Gately displays this imagery deeply and intimately in his first novel, South of Main Street.
In South of Main Street, Gately introduces you to Henry Wolff, a recent widower struggling with the grief of losing his wife and the grief emerging between his two daughters since the death of their mother. You see, Wolff’s deceased wife was quite wealthy and took care of the financial side of their marriage. Why? Well, Henry is…different.
Now that the fortune is left in the hands of Henry, one of his daughters (Sharon) thinks his “difference” makes him incompetent to handle the estate and thus takes him to court to prove so. However, his other daughter (Robin) believes in her father and fights against her sister to make sure his rights are protected. Nevertheless, while the daughters are concerned with the handling of the wealth, Henry is more interested in the handling of life.
Henry is very child-like and focuses on the finer things in life. Henry notices how people treat one another; he appreciates the magic of nature and could care less about the money. Instead, Henry is more interested in touching the lives of people and sets out to do so.
Robert Gately has created a wonderful, modern-day messiah in Henry Wolff. Gately demonstrates through this novel that though the world around us may be in chaos, there is still a strong, still, saving, child-like voice within us. As Wolff assists others with their life’s issues, the reader may find him/herself being assisted as much as the characters in the story. Robert Gately is a marvelous writer with a wonderful flair for writing. I hope South of Main Street is only the first of his works. I highly recommend this title for your bookshelf.