by Alexi Zentner

WW Norton & Co., $24.95, 264 pages

There are times in our lives that cause us to step back and reflect on ourselves, our families and try to infuse meaning into events. For Stephen, the main character in the novel Touch, that time comes when he returns home to Sawgamet, a logging town far north to take over the parish and be with his mother while she is dying. While sitting with his mother, Stephen revisits family stories about his father and his grandfather. He spends the most time remembering his grandfather and his determination to bring his grandmother back to life, years after her death.

Weaving family stories with history and lore, author Alexi Zentner creates an interesting canvas for his main character. He successfully creates a sense of time and place, particularly with the lives and stories of the logging community. He also adds interesting lore regarding the area, with rumors of shifters and mythical beasts. Ultimately however, the story falls flat – there is no emotional pull to any of the characters and the main character’s revelation is not unusual or profound. This novel is a moderately interesting, but not compelling read.

Barbara Cothern