The Same River Twice: A Memoir

Overview

At the age of nineteen, Chris Offutt had already been rejected by the army, the Peace Corps, the park rangers, and the police. So he left his home in the Kentucky Appalachians and thumbed his way north -- into a series of odd jobs and even stranger encounters with his fellow Americans. Fifteen years later, Offutt finds himself in a place he never thought he'd be: settled down with a pregnant wife. Writing from the banks of the Iowa River, where he came to rest, he intersperses the story of his youthful journeys ...
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Overview

At the age of nineteen, Chris Offutt had already been rejected by the army, the Peace Corps, the park rangers, and the police. So he left his home in the Kentucky Appalachians and thumbed his way north -- into a series of odd jobs and even stranger encounters with his fellow Americans. Fifteen years later, Offutt finds himself in a place he never thought he'd be: settled down with a pregnant wife. Writing from the banks of the Iowa River, where he came to rest, he intersperses the story of his youthful journeys with that of his journey to fatherhood in a memoir that is uniquely candid, occasionally brutal, and often wonderfully funny. As he reckons with the comforts and terrors of maturity, Offutt also discovers what is best in life and in himself.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The New Yorker Chris Offutt picks up where Daniel Boone left off...in search of new frontiers.

St. Petersburg Times Offutt the diarist has no models. The Same River Twice is a wild original...[displaying] the nihilistic passivity of a graduate student with the physical robustness of a convict.

The New York Times Book Review The story of Mr. Offutt's journey is so rich and fantastic and desperately honest that it could stand alone. But twined with the slower, lovely wanderings of a man confronting wild nature in the womb of his wife, The Same River Twice is as moving as the current he must cross and recross to find his way.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What keeps this first book by Offut from becoming a familiar nonfictional Bildungsroman is the author's sensitivity to nature and his lyrical prose in writing about it. Offut, however, is far less successful in describing people: his memoir is populated by a predictable array of derelicts, oddballs and near-psychotics as he journeys around the U.S., dreaming alternately of becoming an actor, a painter, a playwright and a poet, yet usually doing little to realize his aspirations. Only those who are intrigued by America's social underside will enjoy Offut's portraits of human flotsam. The underlying plot of the book concerns his wife's pregnancy and the birth of their first child, a son, but neither Offut's approach to nor his words about this subject are original. Jan.
Library Journal
A new and promising writer, Offutt records his rocky road to manhood and becoming a writer. Whether hitching a ride with a dangerous character or working as a walrus in a traveling circus, he felt compelled to keep a journal. He left Appalachia at 19 and took a decade to realize he was sinking ever deeper into failure. Finally, he changed course, got married, and, with the encouragement of his wife, enrolled in a writing program. The results were a 1990 Michener Award for short fiction and a collection of stories, Kentucky Straight Random, 1992. In his current volume, by turns lyrical and graphic, outrageous and sensitive, tragic and hilarious, Offutt writes of the 29 stitches his wife required after childbirth, how his mother spoke ``gentle as rain,'' and of the twinkling of beaver saliva on fresh wood chips in the Iowa woods where he now lives. Strong writing in a memoir of particular interest to academic libraries.-- Nancy Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, N.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743229494
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/25/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 464,251
  • Product dimensions: 0.45 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Offutt author of the critically acclaimed story collections Kentucky Straight and Out of the Woods, the novel The Good Brother, and the memoir No Heroes, lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

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