Into the Valley by Ruth Galm (review by Jacqueline H. ’18)

Into the ValleyInto the Valley by Ruth Galm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Into the Valley is a debut novel by Ruth Galm that chronicles the adventure of B., a thirty year old woman who wanders through 1970s California, trying to assuage a “carsickness” that plagues her thoughts. B. is unable to cope with the coarseness of the present world, yet rejects the traditional binds of the past. This tension is an interesting dichotomy throughout the novel, although it is never resolved at the end. The ending was surprising, but it left me hanging. Into the Valley reminds me more of a collection of individual narratives than a cohesive plot. Nevertheless, the novel was beautifully written and I found it hard to put down. The characterization of B. is excellent – the author represents her as an eccentric and neuroatypical itinerant. Written in raw, haunting prose, Galm’s exceptional use of unreliable narration and stunning portrayal of California in the 1970s leaves an indelible mark in the reader’s mind. I would recommend this book to anyone craving a dreamy, existential read.

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