On the surface, The Riverman is a story of relationships and that first experience of falling for someone. Alistair falls in love with the girl down the street when she asks him to write her biography. Fiona tells him incredible stories about a land called Aquavania and a sinister character known as the Riverman. Alistair interprets all this as a cry for help. He believes that Fiona knows the identity of a child predator and is reaching out to him as a trusted ally, so he is determined to help her. Parents, neighbors, schoolmates, and friends become less important as he focuses on Fiona.
Aaron Starmer has come up with a tale that keeps you guessing and questioning to the end. Who is the Riverman? Does he really exist? Are the stories that Fiona tells Alistair things that have actually happened to her, or just fantasies? We only see Fiona through Alistair's descriptions and we only know of Aquavania and the Riverman through what she tells him. The question of perception and understanding is at the heart of the book - and we reach the end of the story without having all our questions answered in a conclusive way.
If you dislike stories with ambiguous endings, then you may not enjoy this - you will find no hard and fast answers. But if you enjoy stories that make you think and puzzle and ponder, then you should give it a try.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The book will be published on March 18, 2014.