Centuries of June

Written by Keith Donohue
Review by Troy Reed

Bestselling author Keith Donohue (Angels of Destruction) delivers a new spellbinding tale with Centuries of June, a perfect blend of historical fiction and magical realism. The story begins with the narrator waking to find himself lying in the doorway of his bathroom with a blow to the head. He comes to and realizes there is an older gentleman present, sitting at the edge of the bathtub. As he tries to recall what happened, the narrator is visited by eight female storytellers, each relating her life story, each from a different time period in American history.

The novel is based around Gustav Klimt’s painting “The Virgin,” which depicts several beautiful women entangled with one another in a colorful quilt. Donohue is gifted at bringing each character to life and drawing the reader into the different stories through his use of historical detail, word choice, and wittiness. The women’s stories include such topics as Native American folklore, the slave trade, and New York. Readers are taken on a journey through American history and across the American landscape by embarking on a wild ride through the narrator’s mind, without actually leaving the bathroom of his home.

The novel has a dreamlike quality that truly captivates, making the reader wonder what direction the author will take and how everything will come together. Centuries of June is an unusual and engrossing novel that I wholeheartedly recommend.