Home > fiction, novel > Persephone’s Seeds: Dayna Hubenthal

Persephone’s Seeds: Dayna Hubenthal

June 30, 2011

When I was a child I sat in a boat at the headwater of two rivers careening together.

One river made it fast way down a steep slope, singing through deep gorges, bouncing over and around boulders and rocky bottoms. It was lively and deep green with jaunty white wave caps and spoke with a joyous voice.

The other river, old and heavily ladened with dirt, had crossed flatter, used-up lands. It spoke of outrage in measured tones. All it said was edged with melancholy; its voice resonant and deep. It lumbered it’s brown way into the confluence.

I sat in the boat and watched them mate – so unlikely and so passionately. Their songs morphed into one voice – rich, powerful, agile, with clarity enough to force a moan and sigh and flush from every one of us in that boat. The new river took us for a very dangerous ride.

Here I am again at a confluence. For the third time I am life careening into death. For me, death number three is turning out to be the most dangerous ride of all.

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I found many punctuation errors in Persephone’s Seeds: for example, hyphens are used when dashes are required (I counted this as one error, but found nearly ten instances), missing punctuation marks, and misused punctuation marks. But the bigger problem here lies in the writing, which was complex in all of the wrong ways.

The punctuation problems meant that several sentences were reduced to confusion, and while this sometimes had great comedic effect it mostly just interfered with the flow of my reading. The author frequently contradicts herself, often within single sentences; and in her search for a free-spirited style she has sacrificed clarity of meaning. And why no page numbers? surely this was an oversight rather than a choice?

Her writing is too self-consciously different, it lacks flow, and I lost patience with it before I’d even finished theh first page. Despite myself I pushed on but had only reached the third page before I found my allotted number of problems. Had I found this while browsing I wouldn’t have got past the back cover copy, which tells me nothing about the book but quite a lot about the author’s peculiar relationship with rivers. This is a valiant effort but I’m afraid it just doesn’t work for me.

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  1. DOT
    July 1, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I wouldn’t have got past the first sentence without reaching for my lifebelt.

  2. jfishler08
    July 2, 2011 at 1:10 am

    I got the same feeling reading those sentences as I get watching some of the contestants on America’s Got Talent.
    Could it be that the author simply had no one to read and critique her work before submission? Or possibly she’s painfully shy about her work and never showed it to anyone?
    I’m diggin’ hard here…
    I’ve considered self-publishing…
    *gulp*

  3. July 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    The personality of the writing reminds me of a former student. He was brilliantly creative, but erratic. In this particular boy’s case, he would not take direction or criticism in any way, shape, or form. I’m not saying that this is the case with the author, but I’ve met a number of deeply creative people that resist criticism. Jfishler08 pointed out rightly that it’s equally likely that she was incredibly shy, or it’s possible she was caught up in the euphoria that comes with having finished a project. I had a great deal of trouble stopping myself from querying before I even finished my first draft.

  4. July 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Just come here for the first time and reading avidly as I have self-published five books and hope to finish a fifth before the end of the year.
    HOWEVER – alarms went off double time when I read your comment “hyphens are used when dashes are required” because wherever possible I change dashes to hyphens simply for the look of the thing – Word invariably puts a dash at the beginning and a hyphen after so they do need to be changed and I have chosen the smaller symbol so as to be less intrusive. I am now appalled to find it is seen as a major error (although I agree consistency is essential). I shall not, therefore, trouble you to read any of these (although 15 page previews are available via my website) but will certainly do so when I have corrected all these in my next one – fingers crossed you’ll get beyond three pages!
    Thank you.

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