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The River Is Rising

4.6 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Label: RecordedBooks
  • ASIN: B0010ZLSKU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,226,700 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Using the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 for inspiration, the author sets his story in Pilotville, where river pilots have built quiet lives, white and black going their separate ways but without the usual Jim Crow rancor. Under the guiding hand of Papa DeGroot, who founded the Pilotville Negro Infirmary in 1894, the black population has felt secure in their daily struggles and thankful to Papa for being so good to them over the years. Then along comes the Reverend Hale Poser, a blue-eyed black man in search of his past, with gentle ways and a deep love of God in his heart. Poser takes a job at the Negro Infirmary, eschewing the title of reverend, happy to be of service to those less fortunate. When a woman in the infirmary, Rosa Lamont, experiences complications in childbirth, Hale lays hands upon her and, miraculously, baby Hannah is born with out the need of surgery by a drunken white doctor who tends to the patients in emergencies.

The town is amazed by Rosa's easy delivery, rejoicing at the Hannah's birth and looks upon Hale Poser with new interest. Then the unimaginable happens and Pilotville is thrown into chaos, white and black uniting for a time in common effort. Hoping to be of service to the distraught parents, Hale undertakes a journey into the swamps that will uncover the implacable darkness of man's inhumanity to man, throwing him into the deepest moral crisis he has ever experienced in his orphaned life, challenging his faith in himself, the world at large and his God. But this is a man of such deep and abiding faith that he will turn adversity into revelation, opening himself to the great lessons that await in the dangers that inhabit each moment of daily life for some time to come.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So many reviews here have covered the plot.

Bottom line: It will haunt me forever. I love to visit New Orleans and the bayou country, so the atmospheric setting, a main character itself, grabbed me and held me from the start.

And having grown up in a quiet mainline denomination, I now enjoy what Poser desired--mixed congregations that do read beyond "Be still and know" and apply the last of the Psalms. : )

With its well-drawn main characters, subtle use of dialect, often lyrical prose and powerful, sometimes shocking plot, there's no surprise it won the Christy for Mystery and Suspense.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is Louisiana's To Kill A Mockingbird. Hale Poser is chaplain of a New Orleans orphanage where he had lived as an orphan. In 1927 he discovers his file in the orphanage attic, and it propels him to Pilotville, Louisiana and his roots.

Poser is desperately searching for some sense of who he is, where he came from, and who his parents were. Pilotville lays in the bayous and swamps of Louisiana, far from almost any place and accessible only by boat.

Poser gets a job as a janitor in the African-American Infirmary and is content to fit in and listen--until he saves Rosa and James Lamont's new baby daughter, Hannah, from dying at birth because the doctor was too drunk to perform a needed caesarean section. Did the janitor/reverend perform a miracle?

That's the debate until baby Hannah is kidnapped from the hospital. But who would take her? And is there a connection to the other mysterious disappearances of children over the years? Rosa is devastated and the father won't stop searching the bayous for their daughter. And Hale won't stop praying and thinking and seeking answers, not only to his own questions, but to questions people in town sometimes think about--but never voice out loud.

Can you be a slave and not know it? Can someone appear to be kind and benevolent and yet be truly evil? Can people with absolute power over another's life be brought down? Can separate but equal become equal together? Can the truth really set you free when you tell people and they don't believe you anyway? Is God listening and are prayers answered?

This book will grow on you. It will make you ask questions that need to be asked. And the reader will look for answers that are there to be found.
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Format: Hardcover
With elegant prose, themes of racial reconciliation and masterful storytelling, Athol Dickson's fourth novel, RIVER RISING, is a must-read for the new year.

As the story opens, the Reverend Hale Poser poles down the Mississippi River in his ancient pirogue to the town of Pilotville, Louisiana, humming a disturbing tune and looking for clues to his heritage. The blue-eyed African American orphan has an unusual closeness to God and the ability to seemingly work miracles.

It's 1927, and slavery is only a distant memory for most folks in Pilotville. But simmering under the surface of the seemingly tranquil race relations in the small town is something as sinister as the darkest parts of the swampland. Although blacks and whites exist in a sort of harmony, they refuse to worship together. And, since 1883, twelve newborn babies have disappeared, snatched from their mothers at night while they and their little ones were sleeping. Who wants these children? And for what nefarious purposes?

Hale helps Rosa Lamont deliver her baby, which is seemingly breech (the first "miracle") and grieves with them when the baby abruptly is kidnapped. He then rouses the town, both blacks and whites, to hunt tirelessly for the infant. "He had come to find his mother, or his father, or at least a tombstone with their name --- his own name, whatever that might be --- and here he was, looking for a stranger's child instead."

In search of the newborn, Hale embarks on a dream-like journey on the tumultuous Mississippi River. Dying of thirst (with the fetid swamp water mocking him all around), he drags himself at a shore where inconceivable horrors, long thought laid to rest, await.
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