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Saints at the River: A Novel Paperback – June 16, 2005
Pierced by the Sun
A gripping tale of murder and redemption by the author of Like Water for Chocolate. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
Maggie, a newspaper photographer, returns to the town where she grew up to cover the story. She soon becomes entangled in old relationships with her dying father (towards whom she feels much unresolved anger) and the brooding Luke (an ex-lover and militant environmentalist). To oversimplify, this novel is sort of a "You can't go home again or can you" story. Maggie's attitude towards her family and the river evolves over the course of the novel and Rash wisely leaves her conflicting web of emotions unresolved after her photograph of the grieving father changes the course of the story.
I highly recommend this book with its economically drawn yet vivid characters and love of place. Rash's men tend to be too sensitive by half, but that's a minor distraction. Ron Rash is a name all readers of new fiction should watch for.
12 year-old Ruth Kowalsky drowned in the Tamassee River during a family outing, a river that is protected by the Wild and Scenic River Act. This means that nothing can be done to this river to change or alter it in ANY way. Mr. and Mrs. Kowalsky want to retrieve their daughter's body, but because it lies in a dangerous part of the river known as a hydraulic, divers can't simply go in and get it. A temporary dam needs to be built to get her out. And this dam violates the Scenic River Act.
Maggie, a photographer from the area who now lives in Columbia, has been sent to her hometown with reporter Allen Hemphill to cover the growing problem. The town and the parents are at odds when it comes to retrieving Ruth. The town says no, she belongs to the river now, and are not willing to break the law to get her out, while the parents just want their daughters body so they can give her a proper burial back home. Seems pretty cut and dry huh? I had no doubt who's side I was on at the beginning of this book. But by the end my opinion had changed.
Mr. Rash is an exceptional writer. He makes you feel like you're right there on that river with everyone else. He makes everyone involved feel so real, like they're distant relatives of ours. Just as I recommended his first book, I absolutely recommend this one as well. Mr. Rash is a very talented author who definitely should not be missed. I can't wait for his next novel.
However, when a young girl falls drowns near the falls, her body tapped by the hydraulic intensity of the churning water, her parents are distraught. They cannot recover the body. Five weeks later, with media gathered to witness the proceedings, meetings are held to determine whether a temporary dam can divert the water long enough to free the body. A critical factor in the debate is the grieving mother, whose religious conviction is that her daughter's body must be reunited with her soul for burial. This mother's anguish is powerful and moving to the onlookers, her subdued mien all but drowning out the eloquent arguments of a local environmentalist, who says the river has claimed the girl and that she should be left in peace, part of the terrible harmony of nature.
Maggie Glenn, a former resident of Oconee County in the Appalachia's, is now a photojournalist in Colombia, South Carolina. Sent by her newspaper with award-winning journalist Allen Hemphill to cover the story, Maggie is forced to relive her personal demons and long antipathy to a father who is dying of cancer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A pretty well written book, however the ending, or rather lack of, threw me off of the story.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
My 5th Ron Rash novel and I'm a big fan. This particular book takes one of Ron Rash's short stories and deveops same into the novel, Saints at the River. Read morePublished 2 months ago by BrokenArrow
I love Rash's book about the western Carolinas. They give a true sense of the people and the various issues.Published 3 months ago by julia a daniels
Wonderfully written with such poetic imagery! Despite your feelings about the controversial subject this book surrounds you are sure to identify with one or more characters!Published 4 months ago by Charlotte Ann Farmer
Started reading and finished in two nights. Had to find out how it turned outPublished 4 months ago by Peggy J Rexroat
Excellent storyline, and the setting was done to perfection, as was the theme. Thought-provoking and for anyone who has ever lived near the Appalachians, a region Ron Rash... Read morePublished 5 months ago by AvidReader