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The River Beyond the World: A Novel Paperback – September 15, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (September 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312169868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312169862
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This first novel, a nominee for the 1996 National Book Award, is a different kind of family saga: two families come together in the agricultural outback around Rio Paradiso, that of the young Mexican girl Luisa and her children, and that of the affluent farmer's wife Eddie and her son Raleigh. Peery combines a straightforward narrative style with moments of lyrical, almost mystical grace and beauty. The intertwined stories of Eddie and Louisa and their children, Raleigh and Antonia, reveal the hidden currents within the most loveless and downward spiraling lives. Peery is a writer of great promise. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The winner of a Whiting Foundation Award, short-story writer Peery (Alligator Dance) sets her first novel in the border country between Texas and Mexico, from 1944 to the present, and recounts the intertwining tales of Luisa Cantu and Edwina "Eddie" Hatch over a 50-year span. Having fled her Mexican hometown burdened by pregnancy from an ancient fertility ritual, Luisa finds employment as maid-of-all-work for petulant, wealthy Eddie Hatch, a transplanted Southern lady easily irritated by "lazy" Mexican help and her skittish, sexually uninterested husband. She and Luisa enter into an oddly intimate, if outwardly crusty relationship over the decades, during which Eddie gives birth to her only child, Raleigh (the result of a dalliance with a citrus grower) and Luisa raises her children, Gustavo and Antonia. Inevitably, Antonia and Raleigh fall in love and conceive a baby. In a typical preemptive attempt to resolve matters, self-righteous Eddie takes Antonia over the border into Mexico for an illicit abortion that never comes to pass but serves to poison Antonia's sentiments towards "Madama" Eddie forever. The story then barrels toward closure, in which Luisa and Antonia must learn to forgive Eddie's hurts and Eddie must acknowledge Luisa's importance in her old age. Peery spins an involving narrative, maintaining suspense about the central characters' relationships. At times, however, one wishes she had turned her observant eye more to the characters' inward reflections than on atmosphere; her powers of rich description invite readers to hope for the same level of intense contemplation applied to the characters' inner lives. With whatever minor flaws, however, Peery succeeds in providing the engrossing pleasure of old-fashioned storytelling.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "viragonyc" on August 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
The River Beyond the World is an amazing, amazing book. Peery is a lyrical writer, but there's a tough reality to what she writes. In my reading/interpretation, it ends up being a very moving novel about misunderstandings and miscommunications based on class, culture and age and how these differences shape the lives of women. The choices the central characters make alternately managed to choke me up with sadness, to make me seethe with rage and caused me to smile with admiration. Well worth the emotional upheaval and the time spent.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1997
Format: Hardcover
In a writing workshop I attended, Janet Peery said that every story takes place in somebody's back yard, and we like it when it's not our back yard. The Tex-Mex border region is totally unknown to me. Ms. Peery skillfully evokes the flavor of the area with Spanish terms, weather and plant details, and Eddie's fractured Spanglish. This is a fine read
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Janet Peery had quite a journey ahead of her after her
first collection of short stories, Alligator Dance. How
does one top something that is at once so finitely perfect,
so sadly accurate and perceptive of human beings? Read
her first novel, The River Beyond the World, and you'll
soon find out. She is a rare master of written prose,
and her narrative flows together so convincingly you'd be
hard pressed to find out how her experiences as a person
contribute to the rare and empathetic insight that she
brings to the written word. A River Beyond the World is
a treat that leaves this reader forever in her debt!
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