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All Rivers Flow to the Sea Audible – Unabridged

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 4 hours and 58 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • Audible.com Release Date: October 27, 2008
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001JHT7UW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joe Sherry on December 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When I checked this book out from the library I knew that "All Rivers Flow to the Sea" was cataloged as a teen fiction book. Normally, that is a reading level that I don't even look at, but this was written by one of my favorite authors, and Minnesota resident, Alison McGhee. McGhee is best known for her novels "Rainlight" and "Shadow Baby", but is also the author of two children's books and a young adult novel ("Snap"). Everything she has written has been quite excellent, though I didn't love "Snap" the way I did her three adult novels.

"All Rivers Flow to the Sea" is a short novel about a teenage girl dealing with grief and loss. Rose and her sister were in a car accident, another driver hit them and her sister has been in a coma for months. Her mother hasn't been to the hospital since the day of the accident. Rose does not know how to live her life alone because she has never been alone and going back to school she does not know how to deal with the looks and the whispers that her sister is a vegetable and someone should pull the plug. What Alison McGhee gives the reader is a very real feeling story about Rose and how she deals, acts out, comes back, and finds healing in her life and acceptance about her sister. This is a novel that presents a true human challenge for Rose and one that I do not remember reading about, and certainly not quite like this. Likely, this novel will appeal to teenage girls and girls who have had to deal with grief in their own lives.

Alison McGhee has done something remarkable with "All Rivers Flow to the Sea." Not only has she written an excellent short novel for a particular age group, she has written a novel that transcends the age group. If I didn't know that this was "teen fiction" I would easily put this among her adult novels.
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Format: Hardcover
This review will be brief. A teenager girl Rose, and her sister Ivy, are in a car accident in the Adirondack Mountains where they live. The sister who was driving is left in a coma. As Ivy sleeps on, Rose attempts to live with the pain of loss -- her own, and the losses that surround her. This is an illuminating look at grief and at what happens after a severe trauma when the event itself refuses to stay in the past and replays the present tense.

What Mcghee achieves with words -- the fluid and static movement of life and death itself -- is beyond what I can use words to describe. Her writing is brilliant -- stark, poetic, never forced. This book reads like a dream, it has that mesmerizing and sometimes surreal quality. Not surreal in the extreme sense of the term, but in the sense that what happens in day to day life is sometimes simply beyond one's grasp of reality. The writing style is repetitive, but only insofar as Rose's thoughts continue to circle around "the accident," and the repetition builds until you begin to notice slight differences. I don't know what to call this technique -- it is like a translation of what happens in your mind, into words on a page. Never overdone, just the suggestion, which keeps you knowing that for every time Rose repeats to herself "Ivy and I had an accident," this stands not for one repetition, but for hundreds, thousands.

This is a story/stories of how Rose finds a way to let go of Ivy *and* to let her live, and what she learns about her own resilience and her own desire to live and love in the process. Simply and beautifully written. For younger adults? I think this is classic literature of a contemporary age.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of McGhee's critically acclaimed adult novel Shadow Baby, I was excited for to read this contribution to YA fiction genre. Shadow Baby was marketed as adult literature but is also a great teen read; conversely, All Rivers Flow to the Sea is marketed to teens but is terrific fiction for readers of any age.

17-year-old Rose was in a car accident. Her manta, repeated over and over, is "Ivy and I were in an accident. It was dusk in the Adirondacks that night, and we were coming around a curve." Now Rose is a freak at high school--the girl with a sister in a coma. Rose and Ivy's mom can't face the comatose Ivy and works overtime at the bottling factory to escape from life. Rose is numb. Will giving her body away to her classmates let her _feel_ something?

The world should have stopped, but it didn't. The world kept on going. Since the accident the seasons have changed, meaning changes in the outfits for Rose and Ivy's classmates. "Goodbye Romeo and Juliet; hello, Hamlet. Goodbye World War II; hello, Korea. Goodbye, rudiments of string theory and hello, chaos complexity."

"Hello June. Goodbye March, when it happened, and goodbye April, when Icy slept, and goodbye May, when Ivy slept, and hello June, and Ivy sleeps on."

Will Rose be able to drive again? To come to terms with a mom who avoids reality? To form a healthy relationship?
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Format: Hardcover
Here's another opportunity to visit the town Alison McGhee has featured in all her books. This one is lyrically written and poignant. The narrator, Rose, may remind some of Clara from Shadow Baby. Some of the same issues are explored here: no father, an absent (at least emotionally) mother, and a young girl with many questions just trying to cope. There are so many things going on the narrative that you may want to linger over it as if it were poetry. I highly recommend it.
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