Rivers: A Novel

( 59 )

Overview

For fans of Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx, “a wonderfully cinematic story” (The Washington Post) set in the post-Katrina South after violent storms have decimated the region.

It had been raining for weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn’t rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and sunshine glistened across the drenched land.

The Gulf Coast has...

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Rivers: A Novel

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Overview

For fans of Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx, “a wonderfully cinematic story” (The Washington Post) set in the post-Katrina South after violent storms have decimated the region.

It had been raining for weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn’t rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and sunshine glistened across the drenched land.

The Gulf Coast has been brought to its knees. Years of catastrophic hurricanes have so punished and depleted the region that the government has drawn a new boundary ninety miles north of the coastline. Life below the Line offers no services, no electricity, and no resources, and those who stay behind live by their own rules—including Cohen, whose wife and unborn child were killed during an evacuation attempt. He buried them on family land and never left.

But after he is ambushed and his home is ransacked, Cohen is forced to flee. On the road north, he is captured by Aggie, a fanatical, snake-handling preacher who has a colony of captives and dangerous visions of repopulating the barren region. Now Cohen is faced with a decision: continue to the Line alone, or try to shepherd the madman’s prisoners across the unforgiving land with the biggest hurricane yet bearing down—and Cohen harboring a secret that poses the greatest threat of all.

Eerily prophetic in its depiction of a Southern landscape ravaged by extreme weather, Rivers is a masterful tale of survival and redemption in a world where the next devastating storm is never far behind.This is the kind of book that lifts you up with its mesmerizing language then pulls you under like a riptide” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

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Editorial Reviews

James Lee Burke
“Every once in a while an author comes along who’s in love with art and the written language and image and literary experiment and the complexity of his characters and the great mysteries that lie just on the other side of the physical world, writers like William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx. You can add Michael Farris Smith’s name to the list.”
Benjamin Percy
“The lightning whips and the thunder bellows and the rain attacks in the water-stained pages of Michael Farris Smith’s Rivers, a hurricane-force debut novel that will soak you with its beautiful sadness and blow you away with its prescience about the weather-wild world that awaits us.”
Anne Korkeakivi
“Take an environmental apocalypse, blow in the cadences of Ernest Hemingway and the vision of Cormac McCarthy, sweeten it with humanity, add a Southern twang, and you might get something close to Rivers. Michael Farris Smith’s debut novel is not only a great read; it’s a significant one.”
Summerset Review
“Smith’s passion for the South is palpable, and the native Mississippian writes as if in a part homage, part plea to save the splendor of his home state. With stunning prose and nearly perfect pacing, Rivers is an uncommonly good debut, forcing the reader to consider not only the consequences of climate change but also ponder the limits of the human spirit.”
DeSoto Magazine
"Rivers is a novel that forces the reader to face terrifying possibilities and haunts long after the last page. Smith captures the essence of humanity in an almost post-apocalyptic world and his writing earns him a well-deserved place next to greats like William Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy."
Booklist
“[A] powerfully written apocalyptic tale. . . . While Rivers is already inviting inevitable comparisons to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Smith’s canvas is broader and the story even more riveting.”
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"While there are obvious similarities to Cormac McCarthy, Smith most puts me in mind of his fellow Mississippian Larry Brown. They share the same smooth-worn grace running toward minimalism and offhand masculine power."
Frank Bill
“A story so powerful, I thought it was going to ignite every time I picked the damn thing up. Rivers will be compared to some of the greatest stories ever written by writers of generations past and present, but what can’t be compared is the power and skill that lie within its pages. The words will shear your eyes and brand your mind, and you’ll be scarred by what you’ve read for days, weeks, even months after. This is an important book. Pick it up—I bet you won’t be able to put it down.”
ShelfAwareness.com
“What if the devastation of Hurricane Katrina were not a one-time anomaly of ferocious weather, a crumbling infrastructure and an ineffective, incompetent national recovery response, but the first of endless waves of destructive coastal weather? What if the impact of climate change were not centuries away, but right now? . . . The satisfaction of Rivers comes from Smith's finesse in creating a realistic thriller within the fiction genre of cataclysm. His scenes are as real as 24-hour Weather Channel videos.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Michael Farris Smith’s powerful Rivers is the kind of book that lifts you up with its mesmerizing language then pulls you under like a riptide. . . . It’s not surprising that early reviews have name-dropped Cormac McCarthy’s The Road . . . In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy [and] with meteorologists issuing doomsday scenarios about the fate of coastal cities, Rivers succeeds as both a stunning work of speculative fiction and a grim forecast of a coming national catastrophe.”
The Paris Review
“The momentum of this book is propulsive. . . . Most impressive of all is the fact that Farris Smith managed to capture my attention with an opening line—and, for that matter, an opening passage, and an opening chapter—about the weather.”
The Quivering Pen
“A post-apocalyptic world a la The Road by Cormac McCarthy (indeed, Smith's prose style has some of the same hard-muscled, grim texture of McCarthy's words).”—
The Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi)
“Anyone who was on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina will recognize the world portrayed in Rivers . . . The novel builds from this tense, atmospheric beginning to a harrowing conclusion, the kind of book that will soak into you like a relentless downpour. Smith’s storm-swept prose and desolate setting will remind readers of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but there is something in Cohen that reminds us of a Larry Brown protagonist, burned out yet determined, and something especially in his passage through the fugitive land that recalls TV’s ‘The Walking Dead’. Events like Katrina and 9/11 stoked the country’s imagination for survivalist stories like Rivers, so it seems fitting that this promising Mississippi writer has come back to the source and paid homage, in his Southern Gothic way, to the region’s bull-headed will to keep going.”
The Washington Post
“[Rivers] is a wonderfully cinematic story—but there are no Hollywood clichés in Smith’s prose or plot. He portrays each character as a human being with a back story and personality: They may make choices that appall or frustrate us, but the characters are rounded and real . . . Smith resorts to no formula, and his ability to keep you guessing about what will happen next adds tension to long stretches of honed prose. He also manages to make 300 pages of relentless rain so real that you’re surprised your fingers aren’t pruney when you look up from this engrossing story.”
The Steel Toe Review
“This novel’s greatest strength is in Smith’s deep understanding of the traditions from which his inspiration springs and his ability to transform familiar tropes into something new. Like most good literature, Rivers uses these traditions and conventions in new ways that carve out new spaces and new possibilities.”
Bookforum
“Fiction writers often tangle with how to write about the issues shaping the world we live in—war, poverty, oppression—while still preserving the creative energy that should propel a good story forward. How do we manage to write the world we live in while writing the worlds of our imaginations? In his debut novel, Rivers, Michael Farris Smith answers that question with confidence, writing about the effects of global warming while also offering a story that is unmistakably his own. . . . Rivers is a captivating novel, and its ravaged landscape is particularly believable. Farris Smith is meticulous in detailing the reshaped Gulf Coast region, the abandoned husks of buildings, and what happens to both man and nature when a world becomes untamed. . . . Richly written and engaging.”
San Francisco Book Review
“Skillfully depicted . . . . Rivers is a chillingly realistic read and a surreal glimpse of one possible future.”
The New York Times Book Review
“Smith’s incantatory prose . . . propel[s] this apocalyptic narrative at a compelling clip until the very last page.”
storySouth
“When reading Michael Farris Smith’s debut novel, Rivers, it’s natural to see the influence that his literary predecessors, masters of prose and tone, have had on Smith’s work. No influence is more apparent than that of Cormac McCarthy. In Smith’s chilling novel . . . the author is sparse with language, poignant with details and the narrative teeters between physical and abstract worlds. . . . Smith may be following the road set by McCarthy, but Rivers differentiates itself by offering a hopeful and nostalgic tenderness in a story of endurance that is startlingly relevant to our time.”
Daily Candy
Best Books of 2013
Book Riot
Best Books of 2013
The Capital Times
Top Ten Books of 2013
Hudson Booksellers
Best Books of 2013
The New York Times Book Review - S. Kirk Walsh
After his home is ransacked and treasured mementos stolen, Cohen encounters "a ragtag band of refugees" who live in dilapidated trailers…among them a headstrong woman, Mariposa, and two young brothers, Evan and Brisco, who bring unexpected moments of tenderness amid the weather-ravaged landscape of loss. Combined with Smith's incantatory prose, their adventures and will for survival propel this apocalyptic narrative at a compelling clip until the very last page.
Columbus Dispatch
Best of 2013
Lansing City Pulse
“This gripping debut novel was criminally overlooked this year. Kind of a waterlogged Cormac McCarthy, it's beautifully written and very exciting.”
From the Publisher
“Every once in a while an author comes along who’s in love with art and the written language and image and literary experiment and the complexity of his characters and the great mysteries that lie just on the other side of the physical world, writers like William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy and Annie Proulx. You can add Michael Farris Smith’s name to the list.”

“The lightning whips and the thunder bellows and the rain attacks in the water-stained pages of Michael Farris Smith’s Rivers, a hurricane-force debut novel that will soak you with its beautiful sadness and blow you away with its prescience about the weather-wild world that awaits us.”

“A story so powerful, I thought it was going to ignite every time I picked the damn thing up. Rivers will be compared to some of the greatest stories ever written by writers of generations past and present, but what can’t be compared is the power and skill that lie within its pages. The words will shear your eyes and brand your mind, and you’ll be scarred by what you’ve read for days, weeks, even months after. This is an important book. Pick it up—I bet you won’t be able to put it down.”

“Take an environmental apocalypse, blow in the cadences of Ernest Hemingway and the vision of Cormac McCarthy, sweeten it with humanity, add a Southern twang, and you might get something close to Rivers. Michael Farris Smith’s debut novel is not only a great read; it’s a significant one.”

The Oklahoman
Rivers is a tale of survival and redemption in the ravaged southern land. It's a memorable story of grief and love, and new beginnings. It's also a frightening look at what climate change could do to the environment.”
Library Journal
In the near future, when storms have laid waste to America's Southeast and forced inhabitants from coastal areas, Cohen returns to his Mississippi home for good. Attacked after he picks up two teenage hitchhikers, who steal his food and remaining family mementos, Cohen seeks justice. Smith's multiple awards promise good writing.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-08-15
A man attempts to put his past behind him and start a new life in the lawless society left behind in a storm-wracked post-societal Gulf Coast. When a series of ever more intense storms causes widespread devastation along the Gulf Coast, the U.S. government creates the Line. North of the Line, there is safety, security and the rule of law. South of the line is a lawless, storm-lashed no man's land where supplies are short, life is cheap, and might makes right. Cohen, who was born and raised near the Gulf, stayed on after almost everyone else evacuated, kept in place by memories of his dead wife and unborn child, who died during the unfolding environmental disaster's early days. One day, on his way back from a supply run, Cohen is ambushed by a young couple, who proceed to steal his Jeep and leave him for dead. When he eventually makes his way back to his home, he finds the place has been ransacked, his supplies have been looted, and, most troubling of all, his remaining mementos of his past life with his wife have been taken. With all that he cares about gone, Cohen heads out to recover his lost memories and to seek revenge against those who stole from him. Instead of revenge, though, he finds what may just be a reason to go on living. But in order to go on living, he's going to have to head north, and there are many obstacles to overcome before Cohen can safely cross the Line to start a new life. Smith's vision of a post-apocalyptic society left behind by civilization is expertly executed. This world is chilling--all the more so for its believability--and it is peopled by compelling, fully realized characters, some of whom only exist in the form of ghosts. In contrast to this bleak world, Smith's prose is lush, descriptive and even beautiful. A compelling plot, fueled by a mounting sense of tension and hope in the face of increasing hopelessness, will keep readers engrossed to the very end. Tense, moving and expertly executed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451699432
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 9/9/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,242,170

Meet the Author

Michael Farris Smith has been awarded the Transatlantic Review Award, Brick Streets Press Short Story Award, Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, and the Alabama Arts Council Fellowship Award for Literature. He is a graduate of Mississippi State and the Center for Writers at Southern Miss. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters. Rivers is his first novel.

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Read an Excerpt

Rivers


  • IT HAD BEEN RAINING FOR weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn’t rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and the sunshine glistened across the drenched land. It rained now, a straight rain, not the diagonal, attacking rain, and it seemed that the last of the gusts had moved on sometime during the night and he wanted to get out. Had to get out of the house, away from the wobbling light of the kerosene lamp, away from the worn deck of cards, away from the paperbacks, away from the radio that hardly ever picked up a signal anymore, away from her voice that he heard in his sleep and heard through the storms and heard whispering from all corners of the short brick house. It rained hard and the early, early morning was black but he had to get out.

He stood from the cot and stretched his arms over his head and felt his way across the room in the faint lamplight. He slept in the front room of the house. The same room of the house where he cooked and read and changed clothes and did everything but relieve himself, which he did outside next to where two pines had fallen in a cross. He wore long johns and a sweatshirt and he put on jeans and a flannel shirt over them. When he was dressed, he walked into the kitchen and took a bottle of water from a cooler that sat where the refrigerator used to be and he drank half in one take and then put the bottle back into the cooler. He picked up a flashlight from the kitchen counter and he walked back into the front room and went to a closet in the corner. He shined the light first on the .22 rifle and then on the sawed-off double-barrel shotgun and he chose the shotgun. On the floor was a box of shells and he opened it up and there were only two left and he loaded them.

He turned and looked at the dog, curled up on a filthy towel in the corner of the kitchen.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “I ain’t even asking you.”

The rubber boots were next to the cot and he pulled them on, picked up a sock hat and the heavy-duty raincoat from the floor and put them on, and then he walked to the front door, opened it, and was greeted by the roar of the rain. The cool air rushed on him and the anxiety of the walls inside disappeared into the wet, dark night. He stepped out under the porch and then went around the side of the house, hundreds of tap tap taps on his hood and water to his ankles and the flashlight pointed out in front, the silver streaks racing across the yellow beam.

Around the back of the house, Habana whinnied. He opened the door to what had once been a family room and was barely able to avoid the horse as she raced out into the back field. She ran small circles, Cohen holding the light on her and her steps high in the moist land and her neck and head shaking off the rain but her own anxiety being set free in the downpour. He let her be and he stepped inside and took the saddle from the ceramic-tiled floor and once she had run it out, he whistled and she came over to him and he saddled her.

With the sawed-off shotgun under his arm, he led the horse down the sloppy driveway to the sloppy road and they rode half a mile west. He rode Habana carefully in the storm, the single beam out before them, but he knew the route. They moved around trees that had fallen years ago and trees that had fallen months ago and trees that had fallen weeks ago. Back off the road, abandoned houses sat quietly, lined by barbed-wire fences brought down by the fallen trees or the wild ivy or both. After an hour or more, they came to the fence row that at one time had been cleared all the way to the sand in order to lay pipe or cable or something that was supposed to help lift them from their knees but that had been abandoned like everything else.

The rain came stronger as he turned the horse south and they splashed through the brush and mud. There had once stood an electrical pole every hundred yards but only half of them remained upright and the lines that linked them together had been rolled up onto giant spools and taken away. Habana buckled several times in softer spots but fought on and in a few miles they came to the clearing and there was only ocean in front of them and beach to the east and to the west. He shined the light down on her front legs and they were thick with mud and he told her she did good and he stroked the side of her wet neck. They stood still in the rain and it washed them clean.

He turned off the light. Blended with the sound of the storm was the sound of the wash against the shore, the tumble of the whitecaps. A cold wind blew in off the water and he pushed the hood from his head and felt the wind and rain on his face and leaned his head back and felt it around his neck and ears and it was in those moments that he could feel her still there. Still there when there was only the dark and the sounds of what she had loved. He closed his eyes and let the rain soak into him and she was there at the edge of the water, the salty foam rushing around her ankles and her hair across her face and her shoulders red from the sun. He let himself fall back and he lay stretched across the horse, his arms flailing to the sides, the barrel of the shotgun pointing down toward the wet sand and the flashlight dangling from his fingertips. The rhythm of the waves and the crash of the rain and the solitude and the big black world around him and it was in these moments that he felt her there.

“Elisa,” he said.

He sat back up in the saddle and pulled on his hood. He looked out across the dark ocean and listened and he thought that he heard her. Always thought he heard her no matter how hard the wind blew or how hard the rain fell.

He listened, tried to feel her in the push of the waves.

Thunder roared out across the Gulf and then far off to the west a string of lightning turned the black to gray for an instant. And the rain came on. Twice what it had been when they left the house. Habana reared her head and snorted the water from her nostrils. The ocean pushed high across what was left of the beach and the thunder bellowed again and Cohen raised the shotgun and fired out into the Gulf as if this world around him were something that could be held at bay by the threat of a bright orange blast. Habana reared with the sound of the shotgun and Cohen dropped the flashlight and got hold of her mane and she leaped forward a little but then steadied. He patted her. Talked to her. Told her, “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

When she was still, he got down and felt around for the flashlight, and then he mounted again. He turned the flashlight on, then off, and he turned Habana and they started back.

“It’s getting worse,” he said to Habana, but the words were lost under it all.

COHEN STOOD AT THE KITCHEN window with a cup of coffee. The dog, a shaggy black-and-white shepherd-looking thing, stood beside him and chewed beef jerky. Cohen stared at the pile of lumber, switching the coffee cup from hand to hand, trying to bring himself into the day. The morning was a heavy gray and the rain had eased some. Maybe enough for Charlie, he thought. The pile of two-by-fours and two-by-sixes was so wet that he figured he could pick one up and simply fold it end over end. The grass and weeds grew high around the lumber as it had been sitting there for years. He sipped the coffee, looked away from the lumber pile and over to the concrete slab that stretched out from the back of the house. The last frame he had built, months ago, was in a splintered mess in the back field. Almost got to the last wall before another one came and lifted and carried it away. Twice he had gotten two walls done. Twice more he had gotten to the third. He had never gotten to the fourth before it was destroyed.

It wasn’t going to be a big room. She won’t need a big one for a while, Elisa said. Then you can build us a big house with rooms like concert halls. With whose money, he had wanted to know. She shrugged and said we’ll worry about that then. So it was going to be an average room, built onto an average house, protected by the same blond brick as the rest of the low-ceilinged ranch-style house. An average room for what they expected to be a much more than average little girl. Her place to sleep, and play, and grow. Four years ago the foundation had been poured, before it was impossible to pour a foundation, before it was impossible to imagine such things as building a room onto your house.

Now all it did was rain. Before the storm. During the storm. After the storm. Difficult to tell when one hurricane ended and the next one began.

He sipped the coffee and then lit a cigarette.

Goshdamn wood will never dry out, he thought. And he had thought and thought of ways to frame a room with wet wood, onto a wet slab, that would stand against hurricane-force winds, but he hadn’t made it there yet. Unless God changed His laws, he wasn’t going to ever get there. He scratched at his beard. Drank the last of the coffee. Watched out the window and smoked the cigarette. Then he decided to go and see if Charlie was around.

He climbed on a chair in the kitchen and moved away a water-stained ceiling tile, reached his hand up into the hole, and took down a cigar box. He opened the box and there was a stack of cash and he took out four hundred-dollar bills and he folded and stuck them in the front pocket of his jeans. After he put the box away and set the ceiling tile back in place, he picked up the radio from the kitchen counter, turned it on, and listened with his ear close to the speaker, the distant voice of a man overrun by clouds of static. He turned it off, and then he walked over to the cot and picked up the raincoat and sock hat and put them on and then he walked over to the closet. He chose the sawed-off shotgun over the .22, kicked at the empty box of shotgun shells, and then made sure the one and only shell was still in the chamber. The dog crossed the room and stood at his side and followed him to the door but stopped there.

“I’ll leave the door open for you,” Cohen said and the dog looked up at him, out at the rain, then went back inside.

He went out to the Jeep and sat down behind the wheel and set the shotgun on the passenger seat. He had drilled holes in the floorboard to keep the water from puddling, and an overflowing rain gauge was tied to the roll bar. The Jeep cranked and then he drove across the front yard toward the muddy gravel road, leaving tire tracks in the earth.

At the end of the road, he turned onto the two-lane highway that connected him to the busted interstate running parallel to the water. The sky was a lighter gray to the west, but far off in the southeast was a gathering of pillow-like clouds. He turned onto the highway and drove along with cold rain against him. At a lower stretch of road, he slowed because of the water and drove on with his eyes far ahead to where the road showed itself again and he aimed for the higher ground, hoping he would remain on the asphalt that he couldn’t see beneath the muddy water. He made it through the water and then after several miles he came to a crossroads with an old gas station where he used to buy boiled peanuts from an old man who sat on the tailgate of his truck in the parking lot. Past the crossroads he came to a small community and he slowed and looked at the remaining houses and stores lining the highway, wondered if there were people somewhere back in there, back in the faceless gray buildings that seemed to be disappearing, as if they were slowly flaking away and sinking into the earth. Even so, he felt like somebody was watching him. Always felt like somebody was watching him when he made his way through one of these ghost towns.

There was a beautiful sadness to it all that he couldn’t explain. It was a sentiment he had tried to ignore, but it had seeped into him and remained, some kind of grave nostalgia for the catastrophes and the way of life that once had been. As a boy he had ridden with his father, and his father would point out the buildings and houses he had framed. Seemed like he had worked on the entire coastline. Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Moss Point. Didn’t matter where they were, what road they were on, his father was always pointing and saying put that one up. Put that one up. Worked on that one there. Put that one up. And Cohen sensed the pride in his father’s voice. Felt his own pride in his old man and his rough hands and what he did with them. His father seemed magical. During the day erecting houses and buildings along the coast and in the evenings feeding cows and bush-hogging the place and in the night sitting in his chair and sipping a drink and walking outside to smoke and talking to Cohen like he was a little man and not a little boy and Cohen wanting to be like him. He had always believed that one day he would ride around with his own children and then grandchildren and he would point out of the window and say put that one up. Did that one over there. Put that one up. And he had been like his father. He had put some of them up. But there were no children to show them to, and even if there were, what he had put up was now down and all he could say was that’s where one used to be. Put one up over there that’s gone. Used to be one right over there. Whenever he went out in the Jeep, he looked around at the concrete foundations, at the splintered remains, at the heaps of debris, at the places where his work once stood, and there was sadness, and despair, and awe. And he wondered what his father would say if he had lived to see his work stripped bare. He wondered how his father would feel now to have his work gone. Simply not there. Removed by the wind and the rain. Removed with violence. Removed without prejudice.

As if it had never been.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 59 )
Rating Distribution

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(32)

4 Star

(11)

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(7)

2 Star

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(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 59 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2013

    It is an apocalyptic tale set in southern U.S. After torrential

    It is an apocalyptic tale set in southern U.S. After torrential rains and no end in sight the southern states were abandoned by the government. The people were told to leave and if not would be left to their own defense. The characters are fully developed showing love, vulnerabilities, frailties, and evil. The reader is pulled into their lives and want them to live, survive and grow. The beginning was a little hard to follow but then flowed smoothly. Mr. Smith did an excellent job ov weaving the past with the present showing how Cohen deals with his grief and loss. Cohen is turning this loss into a new beginning. I really liked this book and it was hard to put down

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted September 10, 2013

    I get the feeling this is going to be a serious contender for no

    I get the feeling this is going to be a serious contender for novel of the year. It's fascinating and frighteningly realistic.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Great read

    I could not put this book down. It was suspenceful, different but believable, never dull, and I loved the main characters. Look forward to reading more from this author.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2014

    Cohen, a man haunted by his past, lives below the Line, an area

    Cohen, a man haunted by his past, lives below the Line, an area where American citizens will not receive any form government aid. The Gulf Coast area has faced unrelenting storms and has suffered widespread devastation and those who choose to stay below the Line, like Cohen, do so at their own risk in a now lawless land. 

    Cohen chose to stay behind because he couldn't stand to abandon his home especially after suffering the loss of his wife and unborn child, but staying behind means risking the constant exposure to unbelievably violent storms and dangerous mercenaries. Then, one day he is attacked, his home is ransacked, and his supplies stolen. The only thing left for him is to try and make a life for himself above the Line and avenge his losses along the way.

    Lyrical prose, excellent storytelling, complex and relatable characters. Sure, it's no doubt a depressing future, but Smith has a beautiful way with words. I will be keeping my eyes on his career in the future! If you like The Road by Cormac McCarthy or the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, you may very well enjoy Rivers by Michael Farris Smith.

    *I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program. Thanks for randomly drawing my entry!*

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Excellent read.

    This is probably one of the best novels i have ever read. It is a mind-boggling, epic writing that cannot help but draw you in to every moment of this tragic event he is writing about. It depicts how strong the human instinct is to survive at all costs. I had a hard time putting this book down. You get to know each and every character. Sad yet happy. I want to read more of his. You will not forget this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Loved this Book!

    This story was So riveting! I highly recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by what life would be like after natural disasters. I am going to tell several friends to check it out.
    Terrific story by a terrific author!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2013

    Great Read! The Road meets Manson. A true page turner.

    Great Read! The Road meets Manson. A true page turner.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    Riverclan high rock

    Here.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    Can i be leader of Riverclan?

    If I can, then my name will be Ripplestar. If not, then Rippletail.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    Great!

    Loved it and cant wait to see what his next novel will be about.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    Best read in A LONG TIME!

    From the first page I was hooked, emeshed with the main character and his emotional plight to hang on to his lost love and family. This projection of the not so distant future and the calamities of global warming were so realistic, I lay awake at night contemplating the predicament. Gripping and realistic, I would reccomend this book highly!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 14, 2014

    Great Book! Don't miss it!

    I don't even know why I ordered this book because it's usually not my type but I couldn't put it down. Completely believable science fiction...could be a reality sooner that we think...it moves along at a breakneck speed. Good guys and bad guys surviving by their wits in a hellish landscape. Loved it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

    Ok

    I didn't like the ending. We never find out what happens to the two ladies and the babies. Too many questions left at the end. Not a book I'd read again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2014

    I could not put this one down. Really enjoyed reading this book

    I could not put this one down. Really enjoyed reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    great read

    Live in LA and could relate to book very well. Really enjoyed the book. Highly recommend,

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Rivers

    Overall, an intense adaptation of what life would be like in the deep south during and after relentless hurricanes. Inspired by the govts response to Hurricane Katrina, Rivers follows individuals throughout a minefield of havoc and chaos as a result of the govt giving up against the power of Mother Nature. Good story line and easy to follow with plenty of twists and turns along th eway.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    RIVERCLANS MAP

    Res 1: map <br>
    Res 2:main camp <br>
    Res 3: fresh kill pile <br>
    Res: 5: bios <br>
    Res6: apllacations for leader or med cat <br>

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Alicia

    Leaves quickly going to her book accept me res one

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    Alexis and Casey

    Casey's full name is Cassandra. Is that okay?

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