The River

The River

A Novel

Book - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"A novel about two college friends on a summer wilderness canoe trip"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525521877
Characteristics: 253 pages : map ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 15, 2019

Wow. Keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole ride. Two young men, best friends, on a canoe trip in Northern Ontario. Alone and enjoying every minute up until things start going sideways: a forest fire, a couple of drunken men on a boat trip of their own, two voices arguing on a very foggy morning, a woman whose been hurt. A really great read.

Jun 09, 2019

I enjoy survival stories, and this one was well done as combined forest fire and dodge the killer story. Although I found the character Wynn too naive to be believable, the other one Jack seemed realistic. What I was most intrigued with was following the author's descriptions of the progress of the fire toward these two friends on the river. The use of the smoke, the sounds, the heat, the was so easy to envision and reminded me of experiences my former husband and I had during our many woodsy treks. Their struggle to rescue the young woman seemed truly and relentlessly committed.

Jun 07, 2019

This is one of those head scratching moments when a book has been well loved by the masses but I personally found nothing but flaws. It started out well enough but went down hill steadily after that. I found the plot disjointed, many concepts formed but never developed and some of the dialogue was almost unbearable. Don't take my word for it if this book appeals to you. There are plenty of people that seemed to love it. Just not me.

ArapahoeAlyson May 30, 2019

Don't let the title and cover fool you, fire is as important as water to this story.

May 10, 2019

Amazing, unforgettable book! It doesn't quite reach the heights of Heller's The Dog Stars, which was one of the most moving books I've ever experienced, but it shares Heller's gifts for absorbing plots, deeply drawn lead characters, a very strong sense of place, and gorgeous writing. Like the other reviewer who screamed when hearing her alarm play flowing water as she finished the book, I could almost swear I could smell the wildfire smoke. I'm a plot junkie, but all too often strong plots are watered down by shallow characters and so-so writing. If you feel the same way, read The River - you won't regret it!

May 04, 2019

I screamed, cried at the end. I made a mistake and let the morning alarm with the sound of waves play as I read the last pages, just 8 minutes of the full 10 the alarm would play.
I will have to put another sound on the alarm. I'm afraid 'The River" will rush back when I hear the waves. The boys were heroes. But neither would call themselves heroes.
Love - hate this rivetting story.
Will play parts of it over in my head for awhile

Apr 01, 2019

This is one great although small in length book. It follows the harrowing river adventure of two best friends. Along the way of their attempts to out canoe a roaring forest fire in remote territory without any communication with civilization we learn their back stories. I think Peter Heller is one of my favorite authors ever. I loved and revere The Dog stars and think Celine was about as fun a read as I got to in 2017. And now The River. I read it and listened to the audio. The reader/narrator Mark Deakins is a perfect match to the voices of the main characters Wynn and Jack.
It takes your senses on their adventure. Thumbs up all the way.

ArapahoeChristineS Mar 17, 2019

A fantastic adventure, survival story. The pace was steady, ramping up towards the end, and writing was descriptive and engaging. I was absorbed in the scenery and the friendship of these buddies, and there were a couple of surprises. I will definitely check out some of this authors other works.

Mar 08, 2019

A good outdoor adventure novel for nature lovers. 2 college buddies take a semester off school to go on a long canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness. It’s starts off idealistic, but then a wildfire has them paddling for their lives and a madman is trying to kill them. This sounds like an edge of your seat thriller but it’s actually slower paced and very descriptive. Beautiful descriptions of the surroundings as they canoe through the Canadian wilderness, descriptions of their thoughts while paddling, descriptions of their pasts that helped shape them into who they are today. Loved the strong friendship between Jack and Wynn. Very much alike but also some key differences that set them apart. I wasn’t expecting how it ended but outdoor adventure and survival stories are my favorite so I really enjoyed this.

DCLadults Mar 01, 2019

A New & Noteworthy pick. Two best friends take the canoe trip of their lives on a wild river in northern Canada. Their plans go awry when wildfires threaten. And then they discover a barely conscious young woman.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at PIDL

To Top