Once Upon a River

( 28 )

Overview

From the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist—an odyssey of a novel about a girl's search for love and identity.
Bonnie Jo Campbell has created an unforgettable heroine in sixteen-year-old Margo Crane, a beauty whose unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle have not made her life any easier. After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography...

See more details below
Hardcover
$19.28
BN.com price
(Save 25%)$25.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (78) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $2.96   
  • Used (66) from $1.99   
Once Upon a River: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.99
BN.com price
(Save 31%)$15.95 List Price

Overview

From the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist—an odyssey of a novel about a girl's search for love and identity.
Bonnie Jo Campbell has created an unforgettable heroine in sixteen-year-old Margo Crane, a beauty whose unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle have not made her life any easier. After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. But the river, Margo's childhood paradise, is a dangerous place for a young woman traveling alone, and she must be strong to survive, using her knowledge of the natural world and her ability to look unsparingly into the hearts of those around her. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to the decision of what price she is willing to pay for her choices.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Elle
With all the fixings of a Johnny Cash song—love, loss, redemption—Campbell captures these Michiganders and their earthy, brutal paradise in tales rich with insight and well worth the trip.— Natasha Clark
Parade
This is a splendid story of survival in extremis, with a searingly original heroine.
NPR.org
...the book is a violent but inspiring tale packed with colorful river dwellers, a working-class community of power company and metal workers, farmers, hunters and housewives....Campbell has created a character with an iron gut and a heart to match, recalling powerful heroines like Clara of Joyce Carol Oates' A Garden of Earthly Delights and Ree of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone.— Liz Colville
Booklist
“Starred Review. A dramatic and rhapsodic American odyssey. A female Huckleberry Finn. A wild-child-to-caring-woman story as intricately meshed with the natural life of the river as a myth. …she conveys all that Margo does, thinks, and feels with transfixing sensuous precision, from the jolt of a gun to the muscle burn of rowing a boat against the current to the weight of a man. From killing and skinning game to falling in with outlaws and finding refuge with kind if irascible strangers, Margo’s earthy education and the profound complexities of her timeless dilemmas are exquisitely rendered and mesmerizingly suspenseful. A glorious novel destined to entrance and provoke.”
Entertainment Weekly
Campbell is a bard, a full-throated singer whose melodies are odes to farms and water and livestock and fishing rods and rifles, and to hardworking folks who know the value of life as well as the randomness of life's troubles.— Lisa Schwarzbaum
New York Times Book Review
“It is, rather, an excellent American parable about the consequences of our favorite ideal, freedom.”
Wall Street Journal
Mark Twain owns America's rivers, and writers who venture out on those waters are obliged to acknowledge his dominion. Bonnie Jo Campbell's tough and confident Once Upon a River, about a runaway teenager on Michigan's waterways, pays due homage to the bard of the Mississippi, but the novel also tells its own captivating story— Sam Sacks
Natasha Clark - Elle
“With all the fixings of a Johnny Cash song—love, loss, redemption—Campbell captures these Michiganders and their earthy, brutal paradise in tales rich with insight and well worth the trip.”
Parade
“This is a splendid story of survival in extremis, with a searingly original heroine.”
Liz Colville - NPR.org
“...the book is a violent but inspiring tale packed with colorful river dwellers, a working-class community of power company and metal workers, farmers, hunters and housewives....Campbell has created a character with an iron gut and a heart to match, recalling powerful heroines like Clara of Joyce Carol Oates' A Garden of Earthly Delights and Ree of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone.”
Sam Sacks - Wall Street Journal
“Mark Twain owns America's rivers, and writers who venture out on those waters are obliged to acknowledge his dominion. Bonnie Jo Campbell's tough and confident Once Upon a River, about a runaway teenager on Michigan's waterways, pays due homage to the bard of the Mississippi, but the novel also tells its own captivating story”
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
“Campbell is a bard, a full-throated singer whose melodies are odes to farms and water and livestock and fishing rods and rifles, and to hardworking folks who know the value of life as well as the randomness of life's troubles.”
Jaimy Gordon
“American fiction waited a long time for Bonnie Jo Campbell to come along. A lot of us, not only women, were looking for a fictional heroine who would be deeply good, brave as a wolverine, never a cry baby, as able as Sacagawea, with a strong and unapologetic sexuality. We wanted to feel her roots in some ancient story, we wanted Diana the huntress, but not her virginity; we wanted a real human girl who we could believe had been suckled by bears, or wolves. To give us heroines like this, the god finally brought us Bonnie Jo Campbell, one of our most important and necessary writers, and Margo Crane, the central character of Once Upon A River, an outcast, feral beauty who can shoot like Annie Oakley, is her most poignant and mythic creation so far.”
Library Journal
This second novel by National Book Award finalist Campbell (American Salvage) is set in Murrayville, a rural Michigan town far removed from the modern world. Inhabitants have lived off the Stark River for generations, including 16-year-old Margo Crane's family. She's been taught the best fishing spots and knows the hidden dangers downstream from the Murray Metal Fabricating Plant. Her carefree existence ends when her mother, a depressed alcoholic, leaves town, and Margo is raped by her uncle Cal. Margo's unique revenge leads to her father's death, a tragic event that nevertheless sets her free from being at the mercy of the Murrays. Equipped with ammunition, food, her father's ashes, and a pink envelope with her mother's return address, she takes her father's boat downstream, determined to find her mother. Margo survives by hunting, fishing, and garden pilfering and by distrusting people. Her river odyssey ultimately leads to self-preservation on her terms. VERDICT A truthful and deeply human story that pulls us in and won't let go. Readers looking for superior fiction are in for an uplifting, first-rate story. [See Prepub Alert, 1/10/11.]—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO
Library Journal
Last year, when Campbell's American Salvage was both a National Book Award and a National Book Critics Circle finalist, readers woke up to a tremendous young talent. Campbell's new novel features 16-year-old Margo Crane, a crack shot who flees by river after being implicated in her father's death. She's always loved the river, but, as one can imagine, actually living on the water is an entirely different thing. Set in rural Michigan, this book will surely vivify a side of American culture we don't often see. It also shows us how a turn in one direction can sometimes mean never going back. Excellent for book clubs, so it's good that there will be a guide and a concerted effort to pitch both clubs and libraries; an eight-city tour.
Jane Smiley
It would be too bad if, because of Campbell's realistic style and ferocious attention to her setting, Once Upon a River were discounted as merely a fine example of American regionalism. It is, rather, an excellent American parable about the consequences of our favorite ideal, freedom.
—The New York Times
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393079890
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Pages: 348
  • Sales rank: 651,991
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Bonnie Jo Campbell is the author of three previous books of fiction including American Salvage, a National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2011

    Total Disappointment

    I didn't find this book enjoyable whatsoever. With about 100 pages to go, I started skimming descriptive paragraphs (and focused on dialogue)just to get it over with. If I had borrowed this book from the library, I would have returned it without finishing it. Since I paid for it, I felt obligated (to myself) to finish.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Quite a Ride

    It is 1970s Michigan. When her father is killed, 16 year old Margo Crane loads a rowboat with supplies, along with her rifle, and sets off in search of her mother. Margo doesn't consider this dangerous, as the river is her sanctuary, her salvation. She also has her favourite book, the book of her personal inspiration: Annie Oakley.

    This river journey through Michigan becomes one of self exploration and self discovery. It is a defining journey for Margo. She will meet with many hardscrabble people, and encounter experiences beyond the normal for a 16 year old girl. But Margo is not the normal 16 year old.

    Once again, Bonnie Jo Campbell has written a unique book, filled with characters and situations that life is really made of. It is intense, even harsh at times. This book will take you on quite a ride!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The River in the Forefront

    But of course it really is about the river, it is the true protagonist in this down home telling. The flesh and blood girl Margo takes second billing. I was not convinced that Margo was natural born in the rural Michigan environs, she is super-imposed and quite doesn't blend in. Author Bonnie Jo Campbell is a puppeteer quite dropping the girl into each encounter and so we are left with an inauthentic series of forced adventures.

    Rather bold, in the right hands, is the Annie Oakley idolization by Margo, but as the girl is a bit slow, I don't see her drawing much from the biography and so we are decidedly beat over the head with the volume and it become a running joke. In the end, it is hard for a character to compete with the audacious breadth of nature. If you want a man larger than nature tale, read "Deliverance."

    * As I have stated in past reviews, I don't recommend any works completed since the beginning of time. I mention "Deliverance" only as a better man/nature novel, but it is inherently flawed.

    1 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    The review makes me fill in this line, even if I don't have a headline for my review.

    Doesn't nook your socks off or anything, but a fun read. Had some problems accepting some of the plot line on a this isn't super realistic level. But the protagonist is well developed and it was overall entertaining.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Good Read

    Very good reading, it holds one's interest.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Future Bag lady

    Well written but didn't like the story. Main character too blood thirsty and short sighted. Pictured a future with social services taking the baby and Margo becoming a homeless bag lady.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 24, 2011

    Great story

    Enjoyed this story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2011

    I can relate

    I found the charactors interesting and realistic. I was once the too quiet, introvert, too. Now I am living in the Kalamazoo area, and I find many people of the types depicted in this good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)