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The River by Peter Heller
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The River

by Peter Heller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2752264,193 (3.67)27
"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.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
"On this side were only low hisses, a ticking and chirping, a simmering crackle like a million crickets, hellfire crickets, singing of apocalypse and char."

Wow! I could not put this book down. It's a short novel, but it's intense! I expected to book to be a man vs nature story, but it's so much more than that. There is literary quality to this book that I did not expect. The character development, setting, and themes are incredibly well done. I don't want to give anything away. This novel had some twists that I did not expect, which is saying something, because I tend to figure out how these kinds of stories play out fairly quickly. I cried too, which was unexpected. I loved the descriptions, but I could have done with less description of the camping gear. I particularly loved the complex character development and how the friendship between Jack and Wynn play out under the most strenuous of circumstances. Although not pervasive, there is some explicit language.


CAWPILE Rating:

C- 9

A- 10

W- 7

P- 8

I- 9

L- 8

E- 8

Avg- 8.5= ⭐⭐⭐⭐

#mmdchallenge (a book by an author who is new to you) ( )
  DominiqueMarie | Sep 22, 2019 |
This book was a page turner. The plot was tense and it made me wish that I was capable of surviving off the land and being as knowledgeable as Wynn and Jack on how to do so. The book didn't go how I thought it would so it was a surprise ending for me. In a way the ending was the weakest part of the book. Felt like a few holes in the wrap up but that could just be me. ( )
  kayanelson | Sep 18, 2019 |
Reading this suspense novel was a difficult process. The plot was a good one. Two young friends on a wilderness canoe trip are challenged by natural disaster and human frailities, with tragic outcome. Unfortunately, the writing was disappointing. I couldn't shake the image of a writer with an idea roughed out for a story, who then went through his draft adding metaphors and similes ad nauseam. I actually found myself laughing out loud at the sheer transparent effort to turn a thriller into a piece of literary fiction. I hope the author tries again with a more fluid style. ( )
  hemlokgang | Sep 8, 2019 |
Wynn and Jack are college friends, both outdoorsmen. One summer they decide to take a leisurely canoe trip in Northern Canada. A massive forest fire cuts short their plans, and accidental involvement in a botched murder make things very complicated. Suddenly their very survival is at risk for several reasons. ( )
  lilibrarian | Jul 31, 2019 |
Two friends take a canoeing trip of a lifetime down a remote and dangerous river. A wildfire and a chance encounter with an arguing couple turns their adventure into a nightmare. Lyrical and lovely the taut prose builds suspense beautifully. Jack and Wynn have a bit of an ‘Of Mice and Men’ feel to their relationship, though the lumbering Wynn is an artist and a scholar. Jack is more cynical and harsh. The story balances character depth with a thrilling plot perfectly.

“They loved how the darkness amplified the sounds— the gulp of the dipping paddles, the knock of the wood shaft against the gunwale.”

“There was a principal in aesthetics: the more you prettify something, the more you risk undermining its value.” ( )
  bookworm12 | Jul 7, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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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?
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