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The Town That Drowned by Riel Nason

The Town That Drowned (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Riel Nason

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597200,849 (4.22)12
Title:The Town That Drowned
Authors:Riel Nason
Info:Goose Lane Editions (2011), Edition: No edition, Paperback, 280 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:flooding, gossip, community

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The Town That Drowned by Riel Nason (2011)



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This is a story about Ruby Carson, who is unpopular at school, and her younger autistic brother, Percy. Their small town is about to be flooded and relocated in order to build a hydroelectric dam. We watch Ruby come of age just as she and all her neighbours have to deal with the reality of losing their homes.

Well written, a good story. ( )
  LynnB | Mar 12, 2014 |
This novel starts off a bit slow but then picks up and by midway it had me hooked. Primarily a character driven novel, the plot deals with a young girl in New Brunswick and her brother who while undiagnosed seems to be autistic, and the means by which they deal with their town being moved to make way for the building of a dam and the flooding of their former property. ( )
  CarterPJ | Aug 17, 2013 |
The Town that Drowned is a gentle story by debut Canadian author Riel Nason which was recently recognized by several major national literary prizes.

It's the mid sixties and the narrator is fourteen year old Ruby Carson who lives in a small rural town named Haverton on the banks of the St John River which wends it's way through New Brunswick, Canada. Ruby's best friend has moved away over the summer and she is dreading the return to school. Already a target of derision by her peers because of her brother's strange behaviour, Ruby finds herself ostracized after falling through the ice and seeing a vision of the town underwater as drowned townspeople drift by.

While The Town That Drowned is a coming of age tale as Ruby experiences the angst of adolescence, including first love, the larger story centers around the death of a community. Ruby's insensible vision becomes a reality when survey pegs appear in the town and the government announces that the building of the new Mactaquac Dam will result in the relocation of Haverton.

The strength of this story is in Nason's characterisation of a community struggling with change. Just as Percy, who has Asperger's, finds it difficult to tolerate any deviations from order and routine, the townspeople are unwilling to embrace the government directive to desert their homes. How each deals with the inevitable paints a poignant tale of loss, change and renewal.

The writing of The Town That Drowned has a dreamy quality but the slow pace coupled with the lack of overt plot action meant I found my attention wondering more than once, even though I found the idea of a town being forcibly destroyed in this way fascinating.

While labeled as literary Young Adult, mainly I suspect because of the teenage narrator, I think The Town That Drowned will more likely appeal to an adult audience who will appreciate the literary style. Reviews suggest it particularly resonates with those whose childhood communities have fallen victim to a similar fate as Haverton. ( )
  shelleyraec | Apr 7, 2013 |
  HelenKubiw | Nov 7, 2012 |
This was a very enjoyable story to read. It had an interesting plot and very likeable characters. The really nice thing about this book is that it can be enjoyed by such a range of ages. It is appropriate for senior elementary yet not too childish at all for teens and well constructed enough to be enjoyed by adults. I can see this book getting some attention. ( )
1 vote Iudita | Sep 9, 2012 |
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The beginning I remember is this: my brother Percy on the old Hawkshaw Bridge. It is August, sunny and warm, and he's in a white T-shirt and jeans, with his glasses tied tight about his head with a shoelace. He is walking, carrying a bottle in one hand, and his lips silently moving. It is afternoon. Percy is nine years, two months, three and a half days old. Believe me, that's what he's say if you asked him.
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"Living with an eccentric little brother can be tough. Falling through the ice at a skating party and nearly drowning are grounds for embarrassment. But having a vision and narrating it to assembled onlookers? That solidifies your status as an outcast. What Ruby Carson saw during that fateful hallucination was her entire hometown- houses and people- floating underwater. Then an orange-tipped surveyor stake appears in a field, another in the cemetery. Soon everyone discovers that a massive dam is being constructed and their homes will eventually be swallowed by rising water. Suspicions mount, tempers flare, long-simmering secrets are revealed. As the town prepares for its demise, 14-year-old Ruby watches it all from a front-row seat"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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