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Green River Rising: A Novel Hardcover – October 1, 1994

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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 359 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co (October 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688135714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688135713
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Few thrillers aspire to high art; fewer still make the grade. This one, a first novel by an English psychiatrist, exploits the dramatic potential of prison life and gets an A for ambition only. Here, it's a Texas big house whose dome of green glass obviates all privacy and permits its crazed warden, John Hobbes, to enact the arcane correctional theories of philosopher Jeremy Bentham. The ideas of Bentham (and of Kant) seep through the narrative--which focuses on how Ray Klein, an M.D. convicted of rape, behaves during a brutal riot. Willocks coats his narrative with a glaze of intellectuality that's cracked with pretentions: in one scene, Klein and Hobbes discuss fate and free will in terms that should make a coffeehouse poseur blush ("Even the man before the firing squad has a choice," said Hobbes. "He can fall whimpering to his knees or he can refuse the blindfold and sing"). Beneath the glaze lies an utterly conventional--if smartly paced--plot in which villains (Hobbes; savage cons) wear black and get their comeuppance, the heroes (Klein; a gang leader; an aging trustee) wear white and emerge triumphant and the sole woman character serves mostly to provide a graphic sex scene or two. The prose is sinewy but narcissistic, while the atmospherics, though powerful, don't match those of Mitchell Smith's comparable Stone City. First serial to Granta; film rights to Alan J. Pakula/Warner Bros.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Willocks delivers an extraordinary second novel about an uprising at a state penitentiary in Texas. The story's well-developed characters include Dr. Ray Klein, a wrongly convicted orthopedic surgeon awaiting parole; Juliette Devlin, a forensic psychiatrist studying prisoners with AIDS; Frog Coley, a convict who has the gift of healing; Henry Abbott, a schizophrenic inmate; and John Campbell Hobbes, an insane warden. Hobbes plants the seeds for the uprising by manipulating existing racial and sexual tensions and then ordering a total lockdown of the cellblocks. Suspense mounts as riots flare and order becomes anarchy. Devlin is trapped with others in the besieged infirmary, while Klein battles to rescue them. Central to this gripping and often graphic plot is Klein: his struggles to survive prison, his fears of a life outside, and his developing love for Devlin. Highly recommended for adult fiction collections.
Stacie Browne Chandler, Plymouth P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 32 customer reviews
The book's a bit too long as well.
He is into realism, depicting human nature at it's worst—as well at it's best and all points in between.
My name is Mary
I have recommended it many times over and everyone has loved it.
Rossana Snee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Raegan Butcher on January 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was a prisoner for 7 years in 4 different prisons in Washington State and it was during my incarceration that I discovered this book. To boil it down into a nutshell, you could say its like DIE HARD during a prison riot, with a lone protagonist pitted against some seriously depraved adversaries-- but that doesn't do it justice; this book just drips authentic atmosphere--it's as evocative as the prison writings of Edward Bunker. I was completely flabbergasted when I found out the author had not only NOT done time himself, but was actually an Englishman to boot! My hat is off to Tim Willocks; without ever having spent any time in an American prison that I know of, he has captured something as real as anything ever written by inmates themselves. What still stands out in my mind are the well drawn motivations of the various factions warring inside the prison and the absolute vileness of some of the villains.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1996
Format: Audio Cassette

© by Carolyn J. Seeley.

Reverse your image of a prison, like the negative of a photograph. What could be more safe than a glass enclosure, dedicated to the reform and social reengineering of convicts? What happens to men when light is punishment and discipline? Green River State Penitentiary in East Texas, imagined by English author Tim Willocks in his novel, Green River Rising, is a facility that sentences men to prison lives without darkness, to be scorched clean by light. Now, what happens when the prison warden's nineteenth century philosophy of prison reform meets twentieth century East Texas taxpayers, parole boards, politicians? This is Willocks' stage for his drama of a violent uprising, spurred by a warden with a failed dream and crumbling mind, who touches off the uprising for the sake of it--to achieve change through force, to move life along through sacrifice and blood, the more senseless and arbitrary, the better. Green River Rising is savage yet compelling; a page turner, an intelligent book. Well plotted, with memorable characters, Willocks' writing conveys the stifling sense of entrapment in a prison gone amok. However, the underlying themes of loyalty, survival, friendship, and love transcend the gore and give the book its depth. It is not light reading, but a gripping, intense tale rumored soon to be brought to a theater near you. Although Willocks wrote the screenplay, read the book before Hollywood gets its hooks in.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Helveticus on August 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. Very well written with real characters and bar none the sexiest love scene I've almost ever read in a thriller. This book is smart and scary. It sizzles. Read it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henry W. Wagner VINE VOICE on August 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Doctor Ray Klein is a prisoner in the hellhole known as Green River State Penitentiary, Texas' toughest prison. He has made a good life for himself there, using his medical skills to win the respect of his fellow inmates. In non-medical matters, his actions are governed by a motto he has taped to his mirror: NOT MY F***ING BUSINESS. This policy has kept him alive and sane.

As the novel begins, Klein obtains the prize he has been seeking: parole. In twenty-four hours, he will emerge from Green River a free man. But fate is not kind. Shortly after he receives the good news, a riot, induced by the machinations of a manic depressive warden, erupts. Klein does his best to avoid trouble, but is forced to take a more active role when he learns that a colleague, Dr. Juliette Devlin, is trapped in the infirmary on the other side of the facility. Accompanied by a ragtag group of convicts (one inmate asks, "Where's Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen?"), he travels through the very bowels of the prison to rescue her.

This book is hard-edged, brutal and claustrophobic, full of horrifying detail. Willocks puts you inside the prison with the rest of the convicts--it becomes your world, your only point of reference. Willocks is eloquent and painfully direct. He spares the reader nothing. Green River Rising is a harrowing fictional trip through a very realistic hell--be prepared.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an intriguing debut novel, set in a prison. Written as a thriller, it is slightly uneven and, at times, implausible. Still, it grips the reader's imagination with its savage, relentless violence and raw and gritty language. It is definitely not for the squeamish, as there is a good deal of carnage and foul language interspersed throughout the book. It is, most certainly, an acquired taste. If you enjoy the acclaimed HBO television series, "Oz", you will probably enjoy this book.

The drama takes place in a Texas prison called Green River State Penitentiary. The atmosphere is tense, and the prisoners are grouped along racially divided lines. The prison is run by Warden Hobbes, an intelligent, erudite man, who is not wrapped too tight. He sets the stage for a prison uprising that is bloody and violent. There are a few good guys, and a lot of bad guys in this prison. One of the good guys is Ray Klein, a medical doctor who was sent to prison for a rape that he did not commit.

Ray works in the prison infirmary while doing his time, and while there, he has made the acquaintance of a visiting doctor, Juliette Devlin. There is a very strong attraction between the two, and it is safe to say that they are falling in love. Unaware of the looming uprising, Ray learns that he is to be paroled the next day. Suddenly, that news is eclipsed, when all hell breaks loose in the prison. The uprising has been started by a sociopathic prisoner, aided by a host of seriously deranged individuals, who are in prison for crimes they actually committed.

Unfortunately, Dr. Devlin finds herself stuck in the prison infirmary during the uprising.
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