Book Review: Sorrowland – Rivers Solomon

Book Review: Sorrowland – Rivers Solomon

Release Date:
May 6th 2021
Publisher: Merky Books
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3/5 stars


Vern, a hunted woman alone in the woods, gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong – not with them, but with her own body. It’s changing, it’s stronger, it’s not normal.

To understand her body’s metamorphosis, Vern must investigate the secluded religious compound from which she fled and the violent history of dehumanisation, medical experimentation and genocide that produced it. In the course of reclaiming her own darkness, Vern learns that monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire histories, systems and nations.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a memorable work of Gothic fiction that wrestles with the tangled history of racism in America and the marginalisation of society’s undesirables. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.


I read The Deep by Rivers Solomon last year and it was such a beautiful and haunting read that I was excited to try more from this author. The story follows Vern, a young woman fleeing the remote religious compound she has lived in all her life. She gives birth to two babies and tries to raise them without the influence of the compound or the outside world. As Vern and her babies fight for survival she soon learns something is wrong with her body. Not only is she experiencing hauntings, but her body is changing, making her more powerful than she ever thought possible. But the group she fled from will not let her go easily and for Vern to survive she must become more than she ever imagined.

Sorrowland is a dark and moving tale, one that definitely sticks with you long after you’ve finished reading. Vern’s story is a haunting one, that very much shines a light on the history of racism in America. It’s such a unique read, blending Gothic horror with science fiction and fantasy. Sorrowland is completely unlike anything I’ve read before – if you’re looking for a unique and compelling read this is definitely one to pick up.

I really liked Solomon’s writing and I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book. I found the last portion of the book a little muddied, and the ending took a different turn than I was expecting. Despite this Sorrowland is still a completely fascinating read, one that touches on a lot of important topics. It definitely isn’t a light or fun read but it’s absolutely a story worth reading. I was really fascinated by the idea of the hauntings, and this was something I was particularly intrigued by in the story. I was so intrigued to learn if they were real or a product of Vern’s imagination. I won’t say too much about the plot because this is definitely one of those books that’s best to go in blind. Sorrowland is a unique and engaging read, one that I think lots of people will be swept up in. If you’ve read other books by Rivers Solomon I’d definitely check this one out.