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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
"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
"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
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.
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.
I am so thankful that Greg Schwipps has given Indiana, given his fellow Hoosiers, this novel. What an asset to have our home treated with such careful workmanship. How deserving this book was and still is of the Indiana Authors Award.
But don't read this novel simply because of its Indiana ties. (Of course, if that motivates you to pick it up, then get at it!) Read it because you want to read a story that does what a story is supposed to do: turn your heart forever toward a few people you've never met, delight in the mud and grit that is their lives, and root for them because you simply can't do anything else.
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 22 months ago by Jason
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 on March 2, 2014 by Cathy Barber
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 first novel, What This River Keeps, will ruin a few mornings for you if you're like me and read late at night after the TV news goes off. Read morePublished on June 9, 2010 by Steve Polston
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