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The River Road: A Novel Paperback – August 14, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060529350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060529352
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,370,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Teen angst and jealousy spin out of control in this tale of a tragic love triangle. Brothers David and Michael have been in love with Kay since she moved in next door; seduced first by the novelty of Kay's missing father, then by her burgeoning sexuality, the boys become her best friends. But as the three move into their teenage years, golden boy David develops a daredevil streak and Michael's jealousy swells. When they get to college, David and Kay embark on an all-consuming affair, while Michael watches and simmers. All comes to a head on a nighttime repeat of their childhood rambles through the Connecticut countryside, which ends at the French King Bridge. Much of the novel is devoted to reconstructing the next half hour: what is clear is that Kay and David both dropped acid, then David jumped off the bridge believing he could swim to shore and never made it. As in Osborn's previous novel, Patchwork, alternating points of view tell a story of parental blindness and all-consuming love. In the end, it hardly matters why David jumped, or why Kay didn't. The point is that David was one of those magnetic but destructive personalities who, even in death, leave behind a trail of hurt. Osborn's prose is clean and neat, but the curious flatness of the narration-emotions blankly stated instead of evoked-robs the story of depth and power.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-David was the golden one. Kay and Michael were his satellites. Growing up in Western Massachusetts, where the boys' father and Kay's mother taught at the local university, the three friends, isolated by space and inclination, were inseparable. David, slightly older than the other two, was a high achiever, scholastically and athletically, and the focus of his father's dreams. When David and then Kay went to the university, they became more than friends and Michael was left behind. The novel opens on one night in the early spring, when David, on an LSD trip, jumps from the French King bridge over the snow-swollen river and drowns. In that instant, everyone's life changes forever. Michael, resentful of Kay's connection to his brother and everyone's distress over David's death, indicates that Kay might have pushed David. His distraught father seizes upon the possibility as an explanation for this seemingly inexplicable event and pursues the idea with the police. Kay, already mistrusted by them for not having been truthful about her relationship with David or their taking acid, is arrested and tried for manslaughter. The trial and its aftermath dissolves one marriage, causes Kay's mother to move away, results in Kay's leaving school and listlessly moving on with her life, and Michael's continuing resentment and lack of direction. Told from three points of view, shifting in time from the event to its aftermath, the story sweeps readers along. The reactions are in keeping with character, and the characters are easily understood. A thought-provoking read.
Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
Copyright 2003 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

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nancy R. Katz VINE VOICE on February 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the book The River Road by Karen Osborn, Kevin, a father says, "You think you know people, but when something like this happens, you really don't know anyone at all." Surely this new book by Karen Osborn clearly and unfortunately illustrates this point all too well.
The River Road, told from the point of view of the three main characters, immerses readers in the story of two brothers who are in love with their neighbor Kay. Friends since Kay moved into this rural Connecticut area, David and Kay become lovers during college leaving Michael out of their customary threesome. As younger children, the three of them played childhood games and survived the angst filled world of high school in part because of their strong ties to one another. But then a tragedy occurs leaving parents and these young adults to wonder what went wrong and what really happened. As the remainder of the book attempts to unravel the mystery and what led up to this tragedy, readers have a front row seat as family and friends become accusatory and introspective, The book, told partially through flashbacks culminates in an ending which depicts how individuals suffer after a tragedy and the indomitable spirit to survive and love again. Certainly for those who enjoyed The Pact by Jodi Picoult concerning teenage suicide, this book will serve as a comparison to the repercussions that can occur when young adults fall in love.
Previous to reading The River Road, I read Karen Osborn's second book, Between Earth and Sky, that was set in the late 1800's in New Mexico. Told in the form of letters by a woman pioneer to her family in Virginia, Osborn presents strong women characters and wonderful descriptions of the land. While she does an equally fine job in this book of describing the characters and description of rural Connecticut, The River Road is a much sadder and more intense book in comparison. One can only wonder how life can spiral so badly out of control for something like this to happen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amy Leemon VINE VOICE on December 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Kay Richards and brothers, David and Michael Sanderson have been friends since childhood. But one tragic night changes not only their lives, but the lives of their families and even the town they live in.
In one careless moment, a life is lost and nothing will ever be the same.
We get all sides of the story as it unfolds in alternating chapters told by Kay, Michael and Kevin (the boy's father). They all loved David and his death affects each in different ways. What first looks like an accident takes an unexpected turn and there's a police investigation and then a trial.
The verdict is riveting and so is this well written book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This fine book held me in its grip from beginning to end. The writing is unobtrusive and I was lost in the lives of the characters, until I realised that something unexpected and subtle was being achieved: an examination of the fine line between love and decency, and the unacknowledged capacity for harm in us.
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