The Long Road Home, by Roan Poulter, is the third of his Motorcycle Chronicles Series, and a matter of a young man, Jordan Carter, finding peace in a variety of ways.
Jordan is the son of a literary icon, and the tale begins when news arrives of her violent death in Argentina. Anne Carter comes across as something of a female Ken Kesey, both admired and derided. Her son is caught between the Mormon restraint of his upbringing and the extreme rejection of all that is Mormon by the bohemian mother who fled the fold.
The son hits the road, on his mother’s classic Indian motorcycle, to scatter her ashes in appropriate locales, all the while fighting personal conflicts involving his mother, whom he yearns to understand, and the young woman he loves, Siena.
Jordan is the good son. Anne is the prodigal mother who doesn’t live long enough to set the parental duties right. Theirs is the love/hate relationship from which Jordan must expunge the latter.
The story is irresistible, but I found myself questioning some of its elements.
Perhaps, once upon a time, literary icons had Anne’s name recognition, but this an age of declining readership, particularly among the young, and it doesn’t seem plausible that everyone, from Siena to the everyday sorts Jordan discovers along the way, has such strong opinions of Anne. She was a woman about whom there could be no middle ground.
The story is set in the present, and yet neither Jordan nor Siena engages in any form of social media. They talk on the phone and leave “texts,” but theirs is a world without Tweets, selfies, Snapchats and Instagrams. It’s quaint, but a Morman tweets, I expect.
Doesn’t he? He’s got a cell.
In a way, I am envious of the exclusions. When I was writing my current novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, I wrestled with how Twitter played a major role in the rise of Chance Benford from the disaster he barely survived. I can’t hold Anne Carter responsible. She’s dead, but why is Jordon using a stack of letters for reference? His mother was a writer. The son is a college student. Why isn’t the correspondence in zip drive?
Perhaps because it is damned admirable.
Poulter has a marvelous knack for description. Perhaps it was cultivated without bearing the albatross of electronic devices. In the course of his novel, I happily suspended disbelief.
Jordan, trying to do his mama right, nurses the old Indian over much of the continental United States. Once he pulls a fast one over her ashes, only a small portion of which ever sees the cold Ogden, Utah, ground, the son, seeking desperately to understand his mother, puts her to rest gradually in both the earth and his soul. He races to Washington State, seeks out the man who accompanied Anne on her fatal road trip to Argentina, and finds him medically incapable of making the trip necessary to heal Jordan’s aching soul.
Lest I reveal too much, I won’t go into the details other than to say Jordan becomes estranged from the woman he loves for no good reason, and winds his way down the Pacific Coast, across the Desert Southwest, across the Midwest to New York to encounter his mother’s literary agent, and then doubles back to the Dakotas, where there the story closes with its ends tied.
Though not a motorcyclist, I have traveled across many of the miles traversed by the protagonist, and his observations of Oregon, the rocky Pacific Coast, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Indianapolis, and New York rang true to my own observations.
I expect, at some point, I’ll read the two novels that preceded this one. Vitality infuses his air. Jordan Carter wants desperately to know why his mother was the woman she was and how she became it. His is a mission of longing, and it’s good he wasn’t enamored of all those modern, electronic apparati that tend to sap souls like his that need enlivening. He needs the hot wind of the road and the bold roar of the motorcycle. He needs to ride off into the sunset, his woman finally along for the ride, at the end of a righteous voyage of discovery.
Please consider ordering Roan Poulter’s The Long Road Home (The Motorcycle Chronicles Series Book 3) here: http://www.amazon.com/Long-Road-Motorcycle-Chronicles-Series-ebook/dp/B00XZDXNCQ/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1JCYS594BGH52GHCJBHY
My novels, which, unfortunately, contain no motorcycles but do involve high-risk adventure, are available here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1