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Rio Ganges Paperback – March 27, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Winedale Publishing; 1st edition (March 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970152566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970152565
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,702,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An English teacher living in Mexico tries to recover his children after an ugly divorce in Theis's turgid debut novel, which focuses on the troubled relationship between the first-person narrator, Daniel, and his beautiful but aloof wife, Jane. The two are saddled with problems from the outset, starting with Daniel's instability and the failed suicide attempt that scars him for life. In addition, his state of mind seems to depend on how well he and Jane are doing together, and Jane's occasional disdain for her husband sets the stage for disaster. She pushes the marriage over the edge with a series of affairs and sexual adventures, culminating in an involvement with the cruel, dominating Carlos ValparaIso, who also happens to own the school where Daniel teaches. Daniel collapses mentally and emotionally when he learns of the affair, taking a room in a Mexico City boarding house where he is almost raped by a gay resident, then falls into a brief but melodramatic affair with a burn victim named Laura. Theis's prose is laced with Mexican symbolism and lurid, macabre incidents, but the outcome of the narrative turns all too familiar when Daniel hunts down Jane and confronts her and her lover in an effort to get his children back. Theis shows some promise as he puts together his decidedly odd cast of characters, and he displays a nice feel for the unique atmosphere and history of Mexico, which has drawn so many novelists. But the hackneyed plot line is ill-suited to his quirky, rather baroque prose, which demands some unusual twists and turns that are missing here.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"in languid, rich prose...reminds us how great literature ultimately deals with birth, death, and, most importantly, everything in between." -- Austin Chronicle

Powerful...a well-crafted tale of...the short distances between life and death, sanity and madness, in a violent world. -- Dallas Morning News

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Rio Ganges is an original novel by David Theis about an abandoned son who must endure trial and depredation. He seeks a new life in Mexico, yet when his wife leaves him for a wealthy patron, he must learn to confront and deal with his anger and guilt. His quest to regain his family is a stirring, emotional, gripping, highly recommended odyssey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Haley on February 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
With his beautiful and recently unfaithful wife and their children, the protagonist Daniel makes a new start teaching English on a ranch in Mexico. When the industrialist-rancher has him beaten and steals wife and children, I am reminded of McCormack's ALL THE PRETTY HORSES. Both have Texas authors writing about disenchanted Texans going to Mexico, being brutalized, facing loss of a lover and death by the hand of a powerful patron. However, Rio Ganges is a horse of a different and fascinating color -- not a Faulknerian prose poem but a unique, clear, lyrical voice -- not about self-reliant survival, but self-surrendering winning. This helps to provide, unlike PRETTY HORSES, one of Aristotle's ingredients for a good story -- an end, a telos.
Daniel's wife leaves him to live with the patron on the ranch. Daniel, devastated, follows a rational course. He catches a bus back north toward the modern side of the Rio. There, I suppose, he would follow up with antidepressants and counseling to learn how his own father's abandonment of him contributes to his marital failure, and individuate with photography, his real calling. After all, the children living in luxury with their mother in Mexico are still young enough to forget. However, Daniel knows the importance of fathers to children.
At a stop on the roadside, he buys a hawk with a beak like his father's nose. He switches to a bus headed south to Mexico City and rents a room there on the street Rio Ganges. A submissive homosexual fellow tenant passionately purses him. Daniel becomes intimate with Laura, a spiritually and badly burn-scarred woman. She insists he accompany her to the basilica marking the spot where a canonized Indian saw the Virgin.
As a young soldier, Daniel had visited the Seville Cathedral.
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