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The World As We Know It Paperback – October 11, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Critically-acclaimed Monninger, known for outstanding character development and lavish landscapes, does it again with this tale of young New Hampshire brothers and the world they construct…Monninger presents a fascinating exploration about true love, fate, and the roads taken in life.” --PW

"Monninger has homed in on the beauty and cruelty of the natural world in this gripping and moving story of loss and understanding. Readers ... will revel in Monninger’s warm and graceful descriptions of rural New Hampshire and his adept understanding of the landscape of human relationships." --Booklist

"This ruminative, poetic novel may resonate with modern fiction readers as well as lovers of the outdoors." --Library Journal

"Joe Monninger beautifully captures the essence of childhood adventure and the sweet innocence of falling in love for the first time. Fans of John Irving, you have a new author to love." --Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Left Neglected

"Ask yourself when the last time it was that you read a book so beautiful and agonizing that it made you cry for joy and sorrow. The World As We Know It does that."  --Bookreporter

"Monninger’s imagery resonates long into the night, while your lamp burns oil because you cannot put the book down until the last page is turned." --Romantic Times (4 stars)

“There are people in our lives whom we love, and lose, and unfailingly long for. They orbit our hearts like Halley’s Comet, crossing into our universe only once, or if we are lucky, twice in a lifetime—this is a story of those kind of people—a tender, gentle, achingly beautiful tale that is impossible to put down.” --Jamie Ford, the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"No one--no one at all--writes about nature and love the way Joe Monninger does. The combination of romantic love with adventure and a bone-deep understanding of the wild is both compelling and transcendent, and his arctic scenes are gripping and visceral. With echoes of Hemingway, THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT is nothing short of brilliant." --Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners

“The beauty and brutality of nature unfolds in The World As We Know It—a touching tale of love, the wounds of loss, and the fragile complexities within the human heart.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Praise for Eternal on the Water:

"Love conquers all, the saying goes, but it can’t win out over the disease that befalls Mary Fury, the seemingly unflappable heroine at the center of Monninger’s poignant, if a bit overlong, novel. Fury has the gene for Huntington’s, a cruel affliction that attacks the body slowly, reducing a once healthy person to a mass of twitching muscles and nerves. Jonathan Cobb, a University of New Hampshire professor on sabbatical, learns the grim reality of Mary’s situation shortly after the two meet (and instantly fall in love) on the Allagash River. This is the land of Thoreau’s Walden Pond, and Cobb had come there to experience firsthand the pleasures of a simple life illustrated by its celebrated author. When Mary begins showing signs of Huntington’s, the two must cope with the inevitable, which includes honoring Mary’s wishes to live out her days as she sees fit. Monninger (Baby, 2007) is a gifted writer, and readers able to overlook a few maudlin moments will relish this eloquently rendered tale."

Praise for Eternal on the Water:

"Henry David Thoreau meets Nicholas Sparks in this poignant love story rooted in the forests of Maine...Monninger's keen eye for nature, subtle incorporation of indigenous myths and use of symbolism make for a memorable story of love and courage."

About the Author

Joseph Monninger has published several award-winning YA novels and three books of nonfiction, including the memoir Home Waters, and has been awarded two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. He lives and teaches in New Hampshire, where he also runs a dog sled team.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451606346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451606348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #286,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Brothers Allard and Ed Keer are thoughtful, contented boys who seem joined at the hip. To say their family is close would be an underestimation. Mr. and Mrs. Keer are delightful folks, the kind who appreciate a simple life of understated beauty and sentimentality. Nature is their arena, and their children want no other life than the one they've been given. Surrounding their sensible New Hampshire home is a picturesque green country, a mix of charming, wistful childhood experiences, and visions of a land that seems nearly untouched by humans.

While ice skating on the river one day along with his brother, Allard's daily routine is broken upon his discovery of a beautiful girl in desperate trouble. A stranger has fallen through the ice at its weakest point in frigid December water. She is not panicking, just struggling to hold on to her frightened dog, fighting the strong undercurrent. She and the animal are clearly within minutes of a fatal accident. In the dead of winter, the Keer boys see that the stars must have aligned perfectly for them to arrive in time. They just manage to get her out, but, in the process, Allard nearly goes under, falling in with her and being swept by the current under a shelf of ice. Miraculously, Allard and Sarah both survive and go on to see the experience as prophetic and rare. From that day forward, they are inseparable and become happy soulmates.

This bright new addition to Allard's and Ed's blissful natural life is one who will bring the Keer and Patrick families together. Both the kids and parents become instant, lifelong friends. And it turns out that Sarah ---- in spite of her startling beauty --- is a down-to-earth girl.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in this book especially after reading the reviews. I was excited to read it and enjoyed the first chapter or two, but then found it to be lacking plot and depth. At times I felt like I was reading a novel for Fourth Graders. The writing was a bit corny to me and very mundane. I kept waiting for SOMETHING to happen and it didn't until I found myself skimming over pages to finally get to the heart of the book.

Finally, my eyes were once again glued to the page and then it all became extremely predictable. It also seemed to jump way too fast for me and in hardly any time, they "all lived happily everafter!"

I guess if you want some light reading and enjoy a simply romantic story, this one is for you. I need more substance to a story, more twists and turns, more heart. The words were sweet and a few parts of it were good, but the rest left me bored and wanting more.
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Format: Paperback
first let me say i'm a joseph monninger fan. i loved ETERNAL ON THE WATER and his young adult novels as well.
this book pushed my buttons as his work always does, because he understands the human heart and can express the emotions of his characters in ways that open my eyes. in fact he opens all my senses with his beautiful language and simple but perfect insights.
i loved the brothers in this story, and how they remained true to each other even when a girl entered the picture. i also loved the relationship between sarah and allard, which was completely believable and beautifully drawn. and when the terrible thing happened, i understood completely how it changed everything, how it ripped them all apart even though they needed each other more than ever.
this is an author who teaches me about life and helps me to understand myself, and he also teaches me about the outside world, from polar bears to barn-raising. this is my next book club pick for sure.
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Format: Paperback
How do you react to unexpected tragedy? What does your life look like when it is unexpectedly divided into "before" and "after"? Those are some of the hard questions faced by the characters in this powerful novel. When the novel begins, two brothers (Ed and Allard) in winter New Hampshire save a young girl (Sarah) from drowning when she and her dog fall through the ice into a river. So begins a powerful friendship that, for Allard and Sarah, develops into something more. Years later, on the eve of their wedding, tragedy strikes and blows their world into chaos.

This book is both extraordinarily simple and extremely complex. The three main characters are wholesome, grounded, and somewhat insulated by their hearty, remote, natural environment. But behind the straightforward, unpretentious exterior of these characters is a surprising amount of depth and complexity. They are uncommonly mature and focused from a young age on what they want for their collective future (a career in animal/nature filmmaking). They are also incredibly expressive and educated and have the kind of parents who inspire and guide without restriction. I found the entire book to be captivating. The tragedy that forms the central dividing line of the book (and the characters' lives) is heartbreaking. Even more so is the reaction of the characters and the resulting impact on their futures. Although the characters bear little resemblance to most young people today, particularly their lack of interest in and reliance on technology and "popular" topics, they remain accessible and likeable. This is a book that would appeal to a very wide audience.
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