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The River Gods by [Brian Kiteley]

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The River Gods Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 ratings

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Stories told one episode at a time. Start reading for free. pantry

Editorial Reviews


River Gods such as Israel Williams, 70 years old in March of 1779, alternate chapters with members of novelist Kiteley's own family: his grandfather, his parents, his gay brother, and various other inhabitants of Northampton.  They speak in monologues, opening their minds and hearts to the reader as might, say, spirits at a seance, with the novelist as the inspired spiritualist.  The result is an intense and beautiful collage of speeches in time about events in this one place from the familiar in every day to the divine.  A 16-year-old Christian boy in the spring of 1738 says, Molly and I do not deceive out of fear of discovery, or because it pleases us to, because we do no one harm, and because we enjoy accumulating venal sins.  Jump forward to 1989, and the novelist himself chants the names of Northampton Streets: First Square, Florence, Young Rainbow, Old Rainbow, Locust, Myrtle, Maple, Elm, Audubon, Evergreen.  By this method, Northampton, Massachusetts, in this unlikely and memorable tribute to one writer's hometown, becomes everyone's location.  The River Gods conjures up a local habitation by means of aesthetic magic.  It's a meditation, a celebration, an investigation and an elegy.  --Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered (NPR)

The River Gods
is a subtle portrait of the way the ripples in the human pond complicate one another.  It tenderly examines the filaments that connect individual to family and family to town and town to nation and nation to world, and shows how rupture, love, death, and memory shiver their way up and down these filaments to create a delicate whole.  A beautifully rendered investigation of joy and loss, and of the way in which longing and desire and regret can lap over the divide between life and death.  --Brian Evenson

The River Gods
is a soft-spoken novel, filled with history and nuance and contemplative space.  Told as a series of first-person accounts by historical characters in or around the town of Northampton, MA, the book effectively pulls about 400 years of that town's history into a collective narrative portrait.  The form is spatial rather than linear.  Kiteley moves forward and back through time, allowing each speaker his or her specific contemporaneity, so that the town's identity emerges not as a palimpsest--its present-day streets and houses and inhabitants "written over" its deep historical past--but rather as a kind of historical simultaneity: these people may have lived at different points in history, but they are all speaking right now in this book.  These were real people, often famous ones (Jonathan Edwards, Sojourner Truth, William Carlos Williams), yet here their primary contribution to the identity of Northampton is not their historical relevance, but rather their assumptions, quirks, flaws, joys, walks, deaths, and all the other elements that composed their experiences of the world.  The past comes to us with the same precision as the present, in the particular qualities of the people who lived here over time.  --Martin Riker, The Review of Contemporary Fiction --This text refers to the paperback edition.

About the Author

Brian Kiteley is Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Denver, and the author of Still Life With Insects, I Know Many Songs, But I Cannot Sing, The 3 A.M. Epiphany, and The 4 A.M. Breakthrough.

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00571F1WY
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Fiction Collective 2; First edition (January 28, 2011)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ January 28, 2011
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 401 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 176 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 12 ratings

About the author

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Brian Kiteley's third novel The River Gods was published by FC2 and is available as both e-book and paperback. He has also published two novels, Still Life With Insects and I Know Many Songs, But I Cannot Sing, and two collections of fiction exercises, The 3 A.M. Epiphany and The 4 A.M. Breakthrough. He is at work on two linked novels set in Crete in 1988, about love, sun, sex, and the CIA, with cameos by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Brian Kiteley teaches at the University of Denver in the Creative Writing PhD program. His home page is:

Customer reviews

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4.7 out of 5
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