Guest Author: Katie O’Rourke
Katie O’Rourke is guest author on #LitChat with Mary Vensel White moderating on February 5, 2018 at 4 p.m. ET. Follow #LitChat on Twitter, or login to our dedicated channel at www.tweetchat.com/room/litchat.
Katie O’Rourke uses the following lyric from an Ani Difranco song as the epigraph to her fourth novel, Blood & Water:
“I know there’s strength in the differences between us
And I know there’s comfort where we overlap.”
The stage curtain of the novel opens on Delilah, who is hastily stuffing clothing and other belongings into a duffel bag. We follow her movements as she shoves everything into her Mini Cooper, coaches herself through a panic attack at the local Target store, then heads west toward the brother she hasn’t seen for five years. The gravitational pull of Delilah’s journey pulls the reader in, and keeps her engaged as O’Rourke’s masterful rendering of the galaxy Delilah inhabits begins to widen. In a rotating series of perspectives, other characters come into focus. Delilah’s brother David is ambivalent about seeing her; their shared family history is complicated, with painful memories and loss. Also, he’s busy trying to manage any type of personal relationship while raising a spirited teenaged daughter. David’s friend Tim is happy with his girlfriend, Sara, and their simple life, but both have baggage from the past to sort out. Back in Sara’s eastern hometown, her friend Ally is struggling with marriage, small children and aging parents. And we meet others, characters related either through family or fate to Delilah, each undertaking his or her own journey to find people and places that feel like home.
O’Rourke has a talent for showcasing the quintessential parts of a person, those relatable thoughts and feelings that strike home with a reader. The characters in Blood & Water feel like the people we know, the people we are. Sometimes when authors rely on multiple points of view, it becomes difficult to distinguish between voices but that is not the case here. Each character is distinct, offering views of Delilah through a new lens. There are moments of pathos and humor, of levity and depth, peppered throughout this engagingly written, heart-warming novel. Invariably, it’s about family—past and present, predetermined and chosen—and the deep veins that keep them connected. Those differences that can strengthen a bond between people, and the overlapping of life and love that keeps us safe and warm.
Above review of Katie O’Rourke’s Blood and Water by Mary Vensel White.
Katie O’Rourke was born and raised in New England, growing up along the seacoast of New Hampshire. She went to college in Massachusetts and graduated with a degree in gender and sexuality. She lives in Tucson, Arizona where she writes, loves and is happy.
Katie’s a hybrid author. Her debut novel, Monsoon Season, was traditionally published along with A Long Thaw, which she later rereleased on her own. Finding Charlie, was chosen for publication by KindleScout in 2015. Her fourth book, Blood & Water launched in 2017.
Follow Katie O’Rourke on Twitter: @katieorourke78.