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The River: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 227 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the River Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gabriel Clarke’s life is wholly devoted to “the River,” a stretch of rapids in the Colorado Rockies. He can’t bear to be away from it; its power is undeniable. Neale’s novel is a powerful allegory about faith in something more powerful and mysterious than oneself. Gabriel loved the River as a child, but when it took his father and he was sent to live with his mother in Kansas, he developed a fear of the water. A trip to the River as a teenager reminds him of his connection to this wild place. As he trusts the River to lead him forward, Gabriel’s life flourishes into more than he dreamed it could be while in Kansas. Neale evokes a relationship between his protagonist and nature as real as any Gabriel has with the people around him as he learns that by trusting the River to guide him, he will end up where he is meant to be. The River is not without its rough patches, enabling Neale to illustrate how it is in the toughest situations that we find our way. --Carolyn Richard --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The River is a story that will transform how you see yourself and the world.”
— Andy Andrews, New York Times best-selling author of The Noticer, The Traveler’s Gift, and How Do You Kill 11 Million People?

"The story begins with a terrifying episode that 5-year-old Gabriel and his father experience above a spectacular waterfall in Firewater Gorge. When Gabriel is a young man, the traumatic event mysteriously draws him back to the river with a seemingly supernatural force. Michael Neale’s skillful portrayal captures Gabriel as a delightful, excited child and again as a questioning young man in search of himself and the father he loved; Neale also delivers the terror in between. His characterization of Gabriel’s growth to maturity sounds authentic. Music breaks, background music, and sounds of cascading waters add realism. Michael Neale is a talented author who narrates his own work with skill and empathy." 
G.D.W. © AudioFile Portland, Maine

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Oasis Audio; Unabridged edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613752733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613752739
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,804,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A Book Review: The River

Gabriel was three years old when he witnessed his father's death. His father was trying to save an inexperienced kayaker on the river.

The story flashes forward to Gabriel at age five, now living with his mother Maggie in Kansas. The small, sleepy town of Cairo is where he grew up, troubled by the demons of his memories. He was terrified to play at the pond with the boys his age.

Different people in his life helped him work through his issues on a somewhat moderate level. Mister Earl and Miss Vonda, from whom his mother Maggie rented their room through the years, were good to them. Mister Earl, his only father figure, took him fishing, which became another victory in his fear of The River.

A new schoolteacher was a positive influence in his life. Her Indian name was Great River. She painted him a picture of the river where she grew up, and wrote him a note that was signed, "Great River loves you."

After high school, Gabriel worked on Mister Earl's farm and at the Five and Dime in town. He felt restless, as if he had not found his niche, as if there were something more for which he was made.

A high school friend invited him with other friends to Colorado for a vacation on The River. It was the same River where his father had died. He did not want his friends to know his past. His insecurities abounded, but a girl named Tabitha pursued his friendship, and invited him to return for the summer to Great River Adventures, a river rafting business provided guided tours of the rapids.

Throughout his time in Colorado, a white hawk showed up repeatedly. Gabriel believed this was his father watching over him.

Gabriel did return.
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Format: Paperback
You can read (too much) of the plot elsewhere. This wonderful, inspiring story drew me in and grabbed my soul. I laughed and cried over it. I'll read it again, and recommend it to anyone looking for good, clean inspiring fiction.

The setting of mountain streams and forests comes alive with emotions of both guilt and searching for the truth of the past. You can hear the ripples of the water rushing past, with the introduction to the magic of the river intertwined with the beauty around it. From the anger of being left behind, to the guilt of being the one who survived. You'll be drawn into the quest to understand the lives connected on the river.

Read this book! It will be time well spent. How many times can you say that?
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Format: Paperback
Life can be as tumultuous as river rapids with jagged rocks.
Life can be as lonely as a dirty swamp no one visits.
Life can be as loving as a pool that gratefully accepts your fishing lure.
Life can be as gentle as a flowing stream that carries us to healing waters.

The River, debut novel by Michael Neale is all of this. Climb into your canoe and dip your paddle into the spell this book will cast over you.

Adventuresome five-year-old Gabriel Clarke loves the Colorado River until he watches his father die while trying to save someone in a kayak. Traumatized, Gabriel withdraws into his own private grief. He moves away to live with his mother in Kansas. Years pass as he deals with the scars and pain of his father's death and lonely adolescence. Will he return to the river to find some resolution?

Descriptions in the book are mystical and magical. The words Gabriel's father and grandfather wrote in their journal are poignant revelations of their feelings for The River (always capitalized in the book). Marbles Gabriel buys at a fair are described as having The River within them. Parallels between The River and God are drawn with beautiful descriptive metaphors. The reader is challenged to leave the safety of what is familiar to find the rapids of what heals.

Sometimes simplicity has the greatest impact.

The author says "The story I'm about to tell you is inspired by a collage of...happenings in my life...I believe you'll find some of your story here as well." As so often happens, one person's story helps us understand our own. To our benefit, Mr. Neale isn't afraid to bare his soul in his writing. This reviewer will watch expectantly for his next novel. Full of marvels, The Riverby Michael Neale will help you examine places in need of healing within your own heart.

Netgalley provided a digital advance review copy for my unbiased opinion.
Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont.
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Format: Paperback
I so much wanted to love The River, Michael Neale's new novel, but perhaps my expectations were too high. It took me two months to finish the story, though I found the time to read four other books and portions of three others in those same weeks.

The story itself is an obvious metaphor as protagonist Gabriel Clarke discovers both healing and an escape from his humdrum life when he experiences the mysteries of The River. Gabriel has to overcome his fear of water and forgive a deep heartache before he can fully give himself to The River - and thus follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.

The River clearly symbolizes a deep, mysterious, and intricate relationship with God. We can choose to stand on the riverbank, content with materialism, afraid to jump in, or we can choose to immerse ourselves in The River.

Mr. Neale is said to be a gifted storyteller. That may explain his choice to tell his story using an omniscient viewpoint. Readers are often told how the characters feel instead of experiencing emotional ups-and-downs with the characters. For me, the omniscient voice didn't have the narrative strength it needed. For example, Philip Gulley is another gifted storyteller who uses the omniscient voice in his Harmony series. But the narrative voice in these books is distinct.

Minor glitches also made it hard to get lost in the story. At one point, the new teacher tells her students to push their desks to the walls and sit on the floor. A short time later Gabriel puts his head on his desk. I found myself skimming back through the paragraphs to see if I had missed something.
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