Boats On A River

Boats On A River

by Dennis Balk
Boats On A River

Boats On A River

by Dennis Balk


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The dusty, dirty, nearly torn-to-shreds, beat-to-death book of adventures you'd pull out of your satchel while crossing the open prairie by wagon train. Or, before and after work on the seven train. History is a trail of unexpected minutia and unfamiliar people you're ill-prepared to meet. Very far away, but everybody is traveling the same speed. Inspired by the Americana of James Fenimore Cooper and Charles Portis, writers who rendered the gritty, immersive realism of characters driven by urgency, traversing open country. Mythology floods in on its own. Maybe a touch of the quizzically plausible Terry Gilliam. Out on the river, guts and perseverance stay the course. Downriver, the destination.


Representative Franklin Knight is newly elected to present-day Congress; he's a dapper and cantankerous man in his sixties, a politician's politician. Knight is also a bit of a dreamer and a man with more than his share of self-doubt; he's a complicated gentleman. Knight decides that a Winnebago press-stop tour will be the most impressive formula to arrive in Washington. Out on the road, he considers a quick stop at one of America's grand rivers should prove an enlightening experience. A brief glimpse of America, the great adventure. Knight goes down to the river accompanied by the son of the Winnebago's driver, a twelve-year-old kid from Southern California. At the river's edge, Knight experiences symptoms of a chronic heart condition. Too far from the Winnebago, by chance, a small boat appears and will take them to the closest medical attention. Soon enough, the men in the small boat reveal why they're on the river-a truly puzzling predicament. The gritty adventure has begun. Knight and the boy move through episodes of river time and are confronted with several characters, each with their own challenging circumstances, yet determined to make their way downriver. Some of them are more than a little eccentric. A few of these traveling souls become part of the journey and reveal the profound nature of their participation. Moving down river, Knight and the boy are forced to participate in several episodes of intimidating confrontation. Some are life-affirming; others are life-threatening. During one of the more dangerous skirmishes, the young boy is seriously injured. Without medical attention, his life is in grave danger. Downriver has become an imperative.

Across the theater of continental America's histories, there are processions of significance and defining events. Peopled throughout these scenarios are individuals and small collectives, tribal natives and invading soldiers, who were indeed the quintessential outsiders and non-conformists, swept up in defining moments with which they had little or no connection. Those antithetical dramas are certainly stories in their own right. Representative Knight finally arrives at his trip's destination. Profoundly grateful; the revelation of the journey is his to tell, and every history is a story always told for the first time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9798218134792
Publisher: Channel 171
Publication date: 02/15/2023
Pages: 356
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Mr. Balk has directed digital media-based university departments and media labs in Abu Dhabi, the Kingdoms of Jordan and Bahrain, and Bangkok, Thailand. He is the creative designer for the streetwear brand Splinter Group.Mr. Balk continues to exhibit artwork in international exhibition and distribution circuits.
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