Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota
Once in a Blue Year begins during the first days of the Gulf War, with two navy barracks roommates remaining onshore as their submarine leaves without them. Unraveling through different points of view in both present action and flashbacks, the story follows Dan, who is conflicted about receiving a medical discharge, and Trevor, who is seething with anger over the incident that forced him to miss his deployment. With nowhere else to go, Dan moves into the home of his friends Nathan and Heather and their young son, James. Meanwhile, Trevor is furious with Nathan, who has managed to volunteer to go to battle in Trevor’s place. But Trevor’s hotheaded temperament has finally caught up to him, and regardless of his skill as a true naval warrior, he’s suddenly been ordered to “stay in.” In Nathan’s absence, Dan is charged with looking after Heather and James as he rebuilds his life, while Trevor struggles with his anger and intimacy issues in his relationship with girlfriend Tara. But before they can move forward, they must both come to terms with the fateful event at sea that changed their lives forever.
Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota is one of the most mesmerizing books I have ever read.
Without looking up Michael Durkota before I started, I knew straight away that he must have been a submariner himself. The descriptions inside the submarine are exquisite to the tiniest detail. Without a doubt I felt like I was there, experiencing for myself: the coffee, the films, the banter, the heat, the lack of fresh air. Really, the author does a tremendous job of drawing you in to the life within a submarine, and more importantly… into the minds of the men on board. Focusing on the mindset of four friends, Michael Durkota spins a delicate depiction of men grappling with life and their need to be loved. Once in a Blue Year is therefore, more than a wonderful psychological drama, it is also a love story. Our main man Dan is not enjoying his life (I felt like he’d lost his way) and ends up being honorably discharged on medical grounds. A blessing and a curse. He now has eight months to find ‘himself’ and start a new life. When his lifelong buddy Nathan, goes to war, Dan moves into his house and helps take care of Heather and baby James. For all to see – it’s a disaster waiting to happen. A man lost and lacking love wraps his heart and soul around a woman who is angry, frightened and lonely.
My heart also went out to Trevor, a man with a fortress around his emotions who surprises me at the end with his speech of his perfect understanding of human nature. We don’t get to see his life unfold but I sure hope he got a happy ever after. Jags, the fourth friend, made me laugh out loud on several occasions with his one-liners and I enjoyed the light relief. Michael Durkota is a brilliant writer who has created remarkable characters and a thought-provoking, compelling and memorable story which kept me absorbed from start to finish.
With polished writing that ebbs and flows with the grace of the tide, Michael Durkota presents us with his début novel with flourishing finesse. Once in a Blue Year is highly recommended by Artisan Book Reviews.
Don’t miss this exceptional read! Purchase Once in a Blue Year by Michael Durkota
Top Medalist – Military – New Apple Book Awards
Top Medalist – Psychological Suspense – New Apple e-Book Awards
Finalist – IAN Book of the Year Awards.
“In this lyrical debut novel, the lives of two U.S. Navy men take dramatic turns after they’re cut from a submarine mission during the Gulf War… Debut author Durkota writes a remarkable narrative centered on the afflicted mindsets of his Navy men… And while Durkota’s work often feels like a thriller, it’s more of a psychological study in which the characters, like flashes of lightning, are wonderfully alive for a very short time.” — “A bold debut, filled with unforgettable moments and characters.” — Kirkus Reviews
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