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What This River Keeps: A Novel (Break Away Books) Paperback – February 23, 2012
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"With this tender, clear-eyed novel, Greg Schwipps has added a worthy volume to the American literature of place, in the tradition of Willa Cather, Wallace Stegner, and Wendell Berry. He hears music in country speech, sees marvels on back roads, senses dignity in ordinary lives. Because of the loving regard he shows toward his characters and their land, he strengthens our own attachments to neighbors and Home." ―Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto, reviewing a previous edition or volume
"What This River Keeps bears comparison to the best work of Steinbeck―in this case we're given the vivid portrayal of the common working men and women of rural Indiana juxtaposed against great forces, without pity or hope, but without true defeat, though they may well lose all in the end. Schwipps also gives us, in full measure, the ancient father and son story, reinvented and made new; the complications of family; the friendship between men; the long tested love between married people; the discovery of the responsibilities of love; the love and care of the land; the love of a river; the keen life of the outdoors; the close attention to the earth in its seasons and myriad variousness." ―Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong, reviewing a previous edition or volume
"Like the best work of Richard Russo, Greg Schwipps lushly creates the depth and breadth of a single community with absorbing detail, a refreshing keenness and lyric kind-heartedness. These are likeable, imperfect people, beautifully drawn, living without pretense in what they want from the world. They are connected to the place in which they live, through their animals, their children, their machines, and most of all by the small river that drifts―muddy and rich―through the space they occupy." ―Tom Chiarella, fiction editor, Esquire magazine, reviewing a previous edition or volume
About the Author
Greg Schwipps is author (with Peter Kaminsky) of Fishing for Dummies and his short fiction has appeared in Esquire. He teaches creative writing at DePauw University.
More About the Author
2010 Winner of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, Emerging Writer category
Greg Schwipps was born and raised on a working farm in Milan, Indiana. He spent high school and college summers shearing Christmas trees and working as a laborer at Versailles State Park. After graduating from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, he later attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for his MFA in creative writing. He is currently the Richard W. Peck Chair of Creative Writing at DePauw. His creative nonfiction articles and essays appeared in outdoor magazines like Outdoor Indiana, Indiana Game & Fish and In-Fisherman; his personal essays and short fiction can be found online at Esquire magazine's website, as well as in the journals Booth and Sweet. His first novel, What This River Keeps, was published by Ghost Road Press in the spring of 2009. (To be re-released with Breakaway Books/Indiana University Press in 2012.) He also co-authored Fishing For Dummies, 2nd Edition. He and his wife Alissa live with their two dogs near Morgan County's town of Wilbur. He spends much of his free time catfishing in the nearby West Fork of the White River. www.gregschwipps.com
Top Customer Reviews
have read in years. Whether you are interested in nature,
fishing, family struggles, love of the land, this story will
not only hold your attention but speak to the very core of
your being. All of Schwipps' characters are believable, un-
forgettable and enduring. The main character, Ollie, is one
of the most genuine and universal characters in modern fiction.
His struggles as a son, friend and lover kept me turning
pages like no other book I know of. The writing throughtout
the novel never loses its edge and compells the reader's
attention on every page. For me, Schwipps ranks now among my
favorite writers such as Wallace Stegner, Annie Proux, Louise
Erdrich, and Ann Patchett among others. If you liked Ann
Patchett's PATRON SAINT OF LIARS or THE MAGICIAN'sASSISTANT,
you will LOVE WHAT THIS RIVER KEEPS. Schwipps is a gifted
writer who deserves to be read.
I'm from Indiana, and I have to say, Schwipps got it right. The voices, the vernacular, the relationships... I bought it all. As far as I'm concerned, Greg Schwipps just earned a spot in a very select group of authors that I'll re-read until the next book comes out. It seems hard to believe it's his first novel. Can't wait for the next.
I'll sum up: read this book.
He writes lyrically about the land, and he writes the characters with an honesty that commands both respect and sympathy.
Whether you're looking for nostalgia, a tale of modern struggle between progress/technology/capitalism and tradition/nature/family values, or simply an expertly written story about family and character dynamics in the vein of Plainsong (Haruf), Downtown Owl (Klosterman), or The Corrections (Franzen), you will be thrilled to have What This River Keeps in your collection.
The young DePauw University teacher and catfisherman has given us Hoosiers a novel we can give to others from far away when we want to describe what rural people are like and what our beautiful land gives us.
Schwipps must have been an odd little boy, lingering just a little longer in the chicken coop and recording in his mind how it smells on a hot, humid day. He must have been a kid to keep an eye on as he looked a little farther than across the field and saw the end-of-day sun tracing the haunches of a doe eating at the edge of the corn stubble. He has vision and understanding.
This book is full of rich detail that describes what the land smells like, how it soaks up rain and how it floods. It also tells as well as any book how people smell and sound and how they absorb and rebuff the blows life gives them.
Schwipps's first novel is about family, the land, catfishing, and how rural people deal with the imminent threat of government seizure of their land for flood control projects.
This last subject is, perhaps, prescient, as Indiana government plans and builds an extension of I-69 through parts of southern Indiana that many object to.
Schwipps's novel is not a polemic, however, about the cruelty of forcing people from their land, and it would be unfair to dwell on that.
I met Schwipps sometime in the last decade when I bought his journalistic work to publish in Outdoor Indiana magazine when he was finishing his master of fine art degree at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. He was a beginning writer and I was a beginning magazine editor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really liked this story. The author kept me interested in what was happening with the family. You'll enjoy this book even if you've never been fishing!Published 13 months ago by Jason
I did not like the first 100 pages of this book. I didn't connect with the two characters being described. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Judith Donovan
Buy this book. Read this book. Share this book. Push it on your friends. Get your book club to read it. Post about it on the internet. Spread the word.Published 23 months ago by Cathy Barber
The opening of this novel is a scene that will stick with you. A scene that places before you a singular moment the next 338 pages ache to protect. Read morePublished on November 10, 2013 by David J. Marsh
Here's a book that makes the Hoosierland sing. There's a postcard on each page. With slow-moving prose that trickles through your brain and eases everything else out, Schwipps... Read morePublished on October 16, 2012 by Rajpreet
Greg Schwipps's _What This River Keeps_ is a fine example of contemporary regionalism. Set in rural Indiana, the central conflict places an elderly couple in danger of having... Read morePublished on February 20, 2010 by Katie E. Burpo
I highly recommend this book. Well-drawn characters, great details and setting, compelling plot--all of these add up to a real page-turner. Read morePublished on January 22, 2010 by David Weiden
If you want to experience rural Indiana, reading What This River Keeps by Greg Schwipps is the way to do it. Read morePublished on December 12, 2009 by Lucinda Kirk
I loved this book!! I really felt like I knew the characters in this story and actually missed them when I finished the book!! Read morePublished on November 23, 2009 by Angie Bailey