Prism Review: Review of In The Foam of the Blue Waves
In the Foam of the Blue Waves, by Kathleen Wakefield (Pen And Brush)
rev. by Lauren Lancaster
In the Foam of the Blue Waves is a fiction book published by Pen And Brush in October 2015. Kathleen Wakefield captures Irma’s search for her father, Nicholas, through landscapes and sceneries in California. The author incorporates childhood memories and feelings, creating a thoughtful and inspiring story. The story goes into Nicholas life by Irma reading about the places he had once been and documented in his journal.
Wakefield has structurally thought out and organized specific timelines for her story. The story has a structure where new cities and landscapes are introduced at the start of every few chapters. Each chapter is introduced with a specific date and year followed by multiple accounts of vivid descriptions and details. The details in this story are so powerful they can transport readers to Marin County, Folsom, and San Francisco. The author incorporates literary techniques such as tension and conflict to expand the plot. Tension is revealed with Irma’s internal struggle of accepting the absence of her father. Wakefield also has a strong sense of tone throughout the entirety of the story. Characters’ thoughts and the narrator’s descriptions are all clues used to determine the tone. I felt there was an overwhelming presence of dramatic and thrilling tone, but also a sad, longing tone, especially from Irma and her feelings towards her father:
“California would be a great atom of dazzling gold for Nicholas. He would never have seen anything like it, would never have seen or felt the span of the world like that.”
Although In the Foam of the Blue Waves is fiction, real life events contribute to Wakefield’s intense explanations and reports. Wakefield incorporates literary allusions to depict the natural disasters and devastation that occur within the story:
“On April 18, 1906, at 5:12 AM, The Great San Francisco Earthquake struck the coast of California ….”
The novel is accompanied by six illustrations by the artist Steven Cannon. An example of the illustrations working effectively is the depiction of Nicholas’s death, as the image is a truck driving off a cliff and landing into an ocean or a river (the piece is titled, “Airborne, To Be Lost In The Waves”). The illustrations in the story correspond to an action or a scene. Cannon’s illustrations reflect the greatest, noteworthy moments that have happened in the characters’ lives.
In the Foam of the Blue Waves is well written and narrated. The character’s ambition and California’s natural, scenic beauty overcome the devastation and destruction Irma had been fighting in the story. The story has a deeper meaning and takes readers on a visual and imagery-filled journey. If you enjoy reading narratives in the style and form of a novella and stories about people searching for meaning, this book would be worth the read.