The River

The River

A Novel

Book - 2019 | First edition.
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"Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddles and picking blueberries and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman?"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525521877
Branch Call Number: FIC HELLER
Characteristics: 253 pages : illustration ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Jul 11, 2019

A gripping survival tale. I really liked Jack and Wynn, and was rooting for their accidentally heroic quest the whole time. The ever growing peril from the fire, starvation, and perhaps a homicidal maniac had me hooked. The conclusion was truly moving. This was my first Peter Heller novel, and I will definitely be reading more.

DPLjennyp Jul 07, 2019

Peter Heller keeps getting better and better. Both fast-paced and contemplative, The River is a doozy of a ride.

Jun 28, 2019

The River offers up a translucent Illumination of the inextricable interlace between nature (physical world) and human nature (emotional psychology). Heller weaves a claustrophobic tale of sequential encounters between a half-dozen people, never all at once. Even though set in the far north (Hudson Bay basin), there's a pervasive sense of being hemmed in, chance hovering in the background, shaping encounters and experiences. In a sense, one would be able to make the case that this novel is a microcosm of The Dog Stars.

Jun 15, 2019

Wow. Keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole ride. Two young men, best friends, on a canoe trip in Northern Ontario. Alone and enjoying every minute up until things start going sideways: a forest fire, a couple of drunken men on a boat trip of their own, two voices arguing on a very foggy morning, a woman whose been hurt. A really great read.

Jun 09, 2019

I enjoy survival stories, and this one was well done as combined forest fire and dodge the killer story. Although I found the character Wynn too naive to be believable, the other one Jack seemed realistic. What I was most intrigued with was following the author's descriptions of the progress of the fire toward these two friends on the river. The use of the smoke, the sounds, the heat, the was so easy to envision and reminded me of experiences my former husband and I had during our many woodsy treks. Their struggle to rescue the young woman seemed truly and relentlessly committed.

Jun 07, 2019

This is one of those head scratching moments when a book has been well loved by the masses but I personally found nothing but flaws. It started out well enough but went down hill steadily after that. I found the plot disjointed, many concepts formed but never developed and some of the dialogue was almost unbearable. Don't take my word for it if this book appeals to you. There are plenty of people that seemed to love it. Just not me.

ArapahoeAlyson May 30, 2019

Don't let the title and cover fool you, fire is as important as water to this story.

May 10, 2019

Amazing, unforgettable book! It doesn't quite reach the heights of Heller's The Dog Stars, which was one of the most moving books I've ever experienced, but it shares Heller's gifts for absorbing plots, deeply drawn lead characters, a very strong sense of place, and gorgeous writing. Like the other reviewer who screamed when hearing her alarm play flowing water as she finished the book, I could almost swear I could smell the wildfire smoke. I'm a plot junkie, but all too often strong plots are watered down by shallow characters and so-so writing. If you feel the same way, read The River - you won't regret it!

May 04, 2019

I screamed, cried at the end. I made a mistake and let the morning alarm with the sound of waves play as I read the last pages, just 8 minutes of the full 10 the alarm would play.
I will have to put another sound on the alarm. I'm afraid 'The River" will rush back when I hear the waves. The boys were heroes. But neither would call themselves heroes.
Love - hate this rivetting story.
Will play parts of it over in my head for awhile

Apr 01, 2019

This is one great although small in length book. It follows the harrowing river adventure of two best friends. Along the way of their attempts to out canoe a roaring forest fire in remote territory without any communication with civilization we learn their back stories. I think Peter Heller is one of my favorite authors ever. I loved and revere The Dog stars and think Celine was about as fun a read as I got to in 2017. And now The River. I read it and listened to the audio. The reader/narrator Mark Deakins is a perfect match to the voices of the main characters Wynn and Jack.
It takes your senses on their adventure. Thumbs up all the way.

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