Specific elements in the language play a role in Slouka’s “Crossing”. The river is especially important. It serves as the opponent of our main character, the man, but the river also functions as a symbol marking the border between civilization and nature. Once the man crosses the river with his son on his back, he is symbolically going on a psychological journey (as well as a physical one). What he wants is to figure out how to be a good father and how to find his feet in his new life as a divorcee. Also, a flowing river is often used in literature as a symbol of journeys or transformation.
That the river is a formidable opponent is underlined by the wording which the author uses in connection with it:
He stood there, listening to it seething in its bed, to the inane chatter of the pebbles in the shallows, the hollow tock of the stones knocking a...