17 December 2013

Today's Read: Rivers by Michael Farris Smith

Rivers by Michael Farris SmithWhat if the Gulf Coast became so battered by storms that the United States just gave up on it? Your choice: move above the Line and retain your rights or stay put and survive in the new watery frontier. For Cohen, who lost his family to the endless storm, there was never a thought of leaving home. Until there was.

It had been raining for weeks, maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn't rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and the sunshine glistened across the drenched land. It rained now, a straight rain, not the diagonal, attacking rain, and it seemed that the last of the gusts had moved on sometime during the night and he wanted to get out. Had to get out of the house, away from the wobbling light of the kerosene lamp, away from the worn deck of cards, away from the paperbacks, away from the radio that hardly ever picked up a signal anymore, away from her voice that he heard in his sleep and heard through the storms and heard whispering from all corners of the short brick house. It rained hard and the early, early morning was black but he had to get out.
Rivers by Michael Farris Smith (Simon & Schuster, 2013, p. 3)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: the not too distance future; Gulf Coast of Mississippi, in unclaimed territory
  • Circumstances: after years of superstorms and hurricanes, the U.S. government has drawn a new southern border; lands below the Line are no longer under government protection; Cohen lives in his home, alone, waiting out the never-ending rain
  • Characters: Cohen, who lost his family to the storm; his neighbors; Aggie, a cult leader, and the women he has under his power; other survivors; animals; the environment
  • Genre: dystopian; adult; scarily believable
  • Themes: hope, secrets, family, freedom, love, loss, humanity, survival, violence, betrayal
  • What I know so far: it's really, really wet (will the rain never stop?), Cohen sets off on a personal journey of survival and revenge but soon must grapple with questions of his ethical obligations to help those in need, even at his own peril
  • Thoughts on the writing: powerful sense of place; vivid images of the world below the Line; complex characters with many shades of gray
  • Extras: an Indie Next pick for September 2013; Smith, the son of a preacher, was born in Mississippi, lived in Europe, and has returned to his home state; see his website for more.
In the following short video, Michael Farris Smith talks about Rivers:

ISBN-13: 9781451699425
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 12/17/13, 6:59 AM  

I often wondered about this book. I do like the intro so i would read more.

Unknown 12/17/13, 7:23 AM  

This dystopian novel sounds creative. I would keep reading.

Harvee 12/17/13, 8:07 AM  

I don't read much dystopia but I do like his writing.
Book Dilettante

Gigi Ann 12/17/13, 8:52 AM  

This book sounds fascinating, I await your review, since I've never seen the book before. I hope you enjoy it.

bermudaonion 12/17/13, 8:53 AM  

Yikes! That sounds like a scary premise!

JoAnn 12/17/13, 9:35 AM  

Sounds like this is not your usual dystopian novel...

Laurel-Rain Snow 12/17/13, 10:07 AM  

This sounds like a dystopian novel I would read. I enjoy the ones that seem very believable.

Thanks for sharing...and here's MY TUESDAY MEMES POST

Daryl 12/17/13, 10:09 AM  

sounds really good, right up my alley ... thanks

Literary Feline 12/17/13, 10:25 AM  

I do not read a lot of books like this, but the opening is so compelling. It makes me want to continue.

Unknown 12/17/13, 10:31 AM  

Definitely one I need to read :)


Heather 12/17/13, 10:47 AM  

Sounds pretty intense! My teaser: The Unsung Hero

Sandra Nachlinger 12/17/13, 11:23 AM  

This is a book I must read. Having lived near the Texas Gulf Coast, I can definitely relate to the power of storms. Sounds like this author took that scenario to the extreme. Scary stuff.
My Teaser is from CHRISTMAS CALLING.

Nise' 12/17/13, 12:31 PM  

As a fan of dystopia, I would keep on reading.

Kailana 12/17/13, 12:38 PM  

This book sounds very logical... I would be curious to see how the idea is explored more.

Linda 12/17/13, 2:08 PM  

I think I'd really like this one. I'm going see if my library has it.

Yvonne 12/17/13, 7:06 PM  

I haven't heard anything about this book, but the teaser is great!

Margot 12/17/13, 9:20 PM  

Dystopian fiction is not really my thing, but I do like the beginning of this story. It certainly sets the mood.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 12/18/13, 11:26 AM  

I really want to read this one. This is the kind of tale I enjoy. I tried to listen to the audio on two different occasions but this was one of the rare times where it wasn't working for me at all. Now I have a copy in print and I can imagine my own voices in my head!

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