The online sale River: A outlet sale novel (Vintage Contemporaries) online sale

The online sale River: A outlet sale novel (Vintage Contemporaries) online sale

The online sale River: A outlet sale novel (Vintage Contemporaries) online sale
The online sale River: A outlet sale novel (Vintage Contemporaries) online sale__front

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Product Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

EDGAR AWARD NOMINEE

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
THE OBSERVER (LONDON) • KIRKUS REVIEWS

Wynn and Jack have been best friends since college orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey.

One night, with the fire advancing, they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank; the next day, a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the same man they heard? And if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.

Amazon.com Review

Peter Heller has written three previous novels, but he has been writing about the outdoors in magazines like Outside and Men’s Journal for much longer. In The River Heller has drawn from all that experience to create an exciting, thoughtful, and well-paced thriller about two friends paddling into trouble in northern Canada. A distant wildfire is the first portent of danger. When the friends hear a man and woman arguing on the foggy riverbank, they decide to warn them about the fire—but their search for the pair turns up nothing. The next day a man appears solo on the river. Was he one of the people they heard the day before? The River starts out as a leisurely backwoods paddle and inexorably picks up speed before spilling readers down its cascade of an ending. This is a thriller, an adventure novel, and a meditation on friendship, the outdoors, and something altogether deeper. As I read, I felt like I had been waiting for this book without knowing it, and I fully expect The River to persist as one of my favorite reads of 2019. --Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review

Review

“Vivid and engaging. . . . A suspenseful tale told with glorious drama and lyrical flair.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A fiery tour de force. . . . Terrifying and unutterably beautiful.”
The Denver Post

“[A] poetic and unnerving wilderness thriller. . . . Full of rushing life and profound consequences.”
USA Today

“Packed with action. . . . Engaging. . .satisfying.”
Outside Magazine

“[A] modern-day survival tale. . . . Takes on the urgency of a thriller.”
The New York Times

 “[Heller] has created indelible characters. . . . The River is a beauty-of-nature/cruelty-of-humanity hybrid, but this time he leans into the thriller aspect of the tale, with gripping results.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

"The prose is glorious, Heller’s evocation of the natural surroundings stunning, the tension razor-sharp."
The Observer (London)

“Stunning, beautiful, life-affirming, and heartbreaking. . . . Heller writes with deep respect and empathy for not only nature and its inhabitants but also of human frailty, friendship, loyalty, and love. [An] exquisite book.”
Criminal Element

“[A] superbly crafted adventure-action-mystery story. . . . Reminiscent of James Dickey’s classic Deliverance.”
New York Journal of Books

“As much an allegory about man’s impact on the Earth as it is an adventure story. . . . Heller’s melodious renderings are drawn from a lifetime of not just witnessing nature, but of actively paying attention to how it is woven together.”
5280 Magazine

“Using an artist’s eye to describe Jack and Wynn’s wilderness world, Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist Heller has transformed his own outdoor experiences into a heart-pounding adventure that''s hard to put down.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Peter Heller has struck gold again with The River. . . . Masterly paced and artfully told, The River is a page-turner.”
BookPage (starred review)

“Fresh and affecting. . . . [Heller’s] pacing is masterful. . . . An exhilarating tale delivered with the pace of a thriller and the wisdom of a grizzled nature guide.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About the Author

PETER HELLER is the national bestselling author of Celine, The Painter, and The Dog Stars. The Painter was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the prestigious Reading the West Book Award, shared in the past by Western writers such as Cormac McCarthy and Terry Tempest Williams, and The Dog Stars, which was published to critical acclaim and lauded as a breakout bestseller, has been published in twenty-two languages to date. Heller is also the author of four nonfiction books, including Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave, which was awarded the National Outdoor Book Award for Literature. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers'' Workshop in poetry and fiction and lives in Denver, Colorado.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Prologue
 

They had been smelling smoke for two days.

At first they thought it was another campfire and that sur­prised them because they had not heard the engine of a plane and they had been traveling the string of long lakes for days and had not seen sign of another person or even the distant movement of another canoe. The only tracks in the mud of the portages were wolf and moose, otter, bear.

The winds were west and north and they were moving north so if it was another party they were ahead of them. It per­plexed them because they were smelling smoke not only in early morning and at night, but would catch themselves at odd hours lifting their noses like coyotes, nostrils flaring.

And then one evening they pulled up on a wooded island and they made camp and fried a meal of lake trout on a driftwood fire and watched the sun sink into the spruce on the far shore. Late August, a clear night becoming cold. There was no aurora borealis, just the dense sparks of the stars blown from their own ancient fire. They climbed the hill. They did not need a headlamp as they were used to moving in the dark. Sometimes if they were feeling strong they paddled half the night. They loved how the darkness amplified the sounds—the gulp of the dipping paddles, the knock of the wood shaft against the gunwale. The long desolate cry of a loon. The loons especially. How they hollowed out the night with longing.

Tonight there was no loon and almost no wind and they went up through tamarack and hemlock and a few large birch trees whose pale bark fluoresced. At the top of the knoll they fol­lowed a game trail to a ledge of broken rock as if they weren’t the first who had sought the view. And they saw it. They looked northwest. At first they thought it was the sun, but it was far too late for any lingering sunset and there were no cities in that direction for a thousand miles. In the farthest distance, over the trees, was an orange glow. It lay on the horizon like the light from banked embers and it fluttered barely so they wondered if it was their eyes and they knew it was a fire.

A forest fire, who knew how far off or how big, but bigger than any they could imagine. It seemed to spread over two quad­rants and they didn’t say a word but the silence of it and the way it seemed to breathe scared them to the bone. The prevail­ing wind would push the blaze right to them. At the pace they were going they were at least two weeks from the Cree village of Wapahk and Hudson Bay. When the most northerly lake spilled into the river they would pick up speed but there was no way to shorten the miles.

***
 
On the morning after seeing the fire they did spot another camp. It was on the northeastern verge of a wooded island and they swung out to it and were surprised that no one was break­ing down the large wall tent. No one was going anywhere. There was an old white-painted square-stern woodstrip canoe on the gravel with a trolling motor clamped to the transom and two men in folding lawn chairs, legs sprawled straight. Jack and Wynn beached and hailed them and the men lifted their arms. They had a plastic fifth of Ancient Age bourbon on the stones between the chairs. The heavier one wore a flannel shirt and square steel-rimmed tinted glasses, the skinny one a Texans cap. Two spinning rods and a Winchester Model 70 bolt-action rifle leaned against a pine.

Jack said, “You-all see the fire?”

The skinny one said, “You-all see any pussy?” The men burst out laughing. They were drunk. Jack felt disgust, but being drunk on a summer morning didn’t deserve a death sentence.

Jack said, “There’s a fire. Big-ass fire to the northwest. What you’ve been smelling the last few days.”

Wynn said, “You guys have a satellite phone?”

That set them off again. When they were finished laughing, the heavy one said, “You two need to chillax. Whyn’t you pull up a chair.” There were no extra chairs. He lifted the bourbon by the neck between two fingers and rocked it toward them. Jack held up a hand and the man shrugged and brought the fifth up, watching its progress intently as though he was oper­ating a crane. He drank. The lake was a narrow reach and if the fire overran the western shore this island would not keep the men safe.

“How’ve you been making the portages?” Jack said. He meant the carries between the lakes. There were five lakes, string­ing south to north. Some of the lakes were linked by chan­nels of navigable river, others by muddy trails that necessitated unloading everything and carrying. The last lake flowed into the river. It was a big river that meandered generally north a hundred and fifty miles to the Cree village and the bay. Jack was not impressed with the men’s fitness level.

“We got the wheely thing,” the skinny man said. He made a sweeping gesture at the camp.

“We got just about everything,” the fat man said.

“Except pussy.” The two let out another gust of laughter.

Jack said, “The fire’s upwind. There. We figure maybe thirty miles off. It’s a killer.”

The fat man brought them into focus. His face turned serious. “We got it covered,” he said. “Do you? It’s all copacetic here. Whyn’t you have a drink?” He gestured at Wynn. “You, the big one—what’s your name?”

“Wynn.”

“He’s the mean one, huh?” The fat man cocked his head at Jack. “What’s his name? Go Home? Win or Go Home. Ha!”
 
Wynn didn’t know what to say. Jack looked at them. He said, “Well, you might get to high ground and take a look thataway one evening.” He pointed across the lake. He didn’t think either of them would climb a hill or a tree. He waved, wished them luck without conviction, and he and Wynn got in their canoe and left.

***

On the third day after seeing the fire they were paddling the east shore of a lake called Blueberries. What it said on the map, and it was an odd name and no way to make it sound right. Blueberries Lake. They were paddling close to shore because the wind was up and straight out of the west and rocking them badly. It was a strange morning: a hard frost early that lingered and then the wind rose up and the black waves piled into them nearly broadside, rank on rank. The tops of the whitecaps blew into the sides of their faces and the waves lapped over the port gunwale so that they decided to surf into a cobble beach and they snapped on the spray deck that covered the open canoe. But there was fog, too. The wind tore into a dense mist and did not blow it away. Neither of them had ever seen anything like it.

They were paddling close to shore and they heard shouting. At first they thought it was birds or wolves. They didn’t know what. As with the fire, they could not at first countenance the cause. Human voices were the last thing they expected but that’s what it was. A man shouting and a woman’s remonstra­tion, high and angry. The cries shredded in the wind. Wynn half turned in the bow and pointed with his paddle, but only for a second as they needed speed for headway or they would capsize. His gesture was a question: Should we stop?

An hour before, when they had beached to put on the spray skirt, they had landed hard. Wynn was heavier and having his weight in front had helped in the wind, but then they had surfed a wave into shore and thwomped onto the rocks, which thankfully were smooth; if the beach had been limestone shale they would have broken the boat. It was a dangerous maneuver.

They could not make out the words, but the woman sounded furious and the man did not sound menacing, just outraged. Jack shook his head. A couple might expect privacy in their home, why shouldn’t they be granted the same in the mid­dle of nowhere? They could not see the figures or even the shore, but now and then there was an intimation of trees, just a shadow in the tearing fog, a dark wall which they knew was the edge of the forest, and they paddled on.
 

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4.3 out of 54.3 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Curtis G
5.0 out of 5 starsVine Customer Review of Free Product
If Peter Heller published a grocery list, I’d read it
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2019
As a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I devoured “The Dog Stars” and then started gifting copies to my reader friends. When he published “The Painter,” I read it immediately and it didn’t disappoint. I’m a guy. I like guy stuff. Heller writes about guys doing... See more
As a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I devoured “The Dog Stars” and then started gifting copies to my reader friends. When he published “The Painter,” I read it immediately and it didn’t disappoint.

I’m a guy. I like guy stuff. Heller writes about guys doing stuff—surviving after a worldwide calamity; communing with nature and killing a bad guy (unintentionally; he had it coming!); navigating a dangerous river and saving a woman in distress—so I’m in.

“The River” is streamlined, coming in at around 250 pages. I read it in a couple of sessions, squeezing it into my schedule as often as possible. There’s no discernable fluff. It feels intimate and reminded me of Tim O’Brien’s work in its limited scope. The way Heller tells the story—it’s not a straightforward A to B journey; there are turns and backtracking and changes of pace—reflects the river itself. It starts at a meandering pace and quickly picks up speed.

Heller writes with an authority born of experience. Everything feels completely authentic. So much texture. I think I said much the same in my review for “The Painter,” but his writing and his eye for detail really remind me of James Dickey’s “Deliverance.” Dickey was a poet who brought his keen eye for nature to novel writing and created a fictional touchstone that most stories of canoeing down a river will naturally be compared to, which is why I was surprised and pleased that Heller mentions “Deliverance” and name-checks Dickey.

(Skip this if you''re concerned about possible spoilers. Something occurred to me a few days after I finished the book and had some time to digest it. I was ultimately satisfied with the book''s resolution, but I think it might have been more interesting for the "less manly" character to have had to step up to resolve the central conflict. As-is, it''s fairly straightforward and unsurprising, and not much of an arc. There''s circularity and *some* closure for the protagonist in terms of what''s haunting him, but the resolution of the conflict doesn''t specifically "kill his ghost." C''est la vie.)

"The River" is another winner from Heller. He is an amazingly talented writer and I would be pleased to read anything he put out.
154 people found this helpful
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Rosalind Robb
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Feel duped by reviews.
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2019
The description is incorrect. This book is not urgent nor visceral. More like plodding and mildly exciting. Feeling duped by the reviews. Amazed I even finished it.
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Linda C.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Remarkable book - one I will remember for a long time
Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2019
The River tells the story of two young men, friends since childhood, who face an ever increasing series of threats while on what should have been a carefree end of summer canoe trip. The description of the most obvious threat, a huge forest fire, was... See more
The River tells the story of two young men, friends since childhood, who face an ever increasing series of threats while on what should have been a carefree end of summer canoe trip.

The description of the most obvious threat, a huge forest fire, was breathtaking. I could smell the fire, hear its voice and see its power.

The other threats are equally well described and I read with fascination and dread as the story advanced.

The River explores the themes of friendship, responsibility, loss, love and endurance. I recommend it highly.

My only complaint is that the author uses too many incomplete sentence fragments. I’ll read a sentence and be jerked out of the story as I try to make sense of what appears to be a sentence but without a verb. Or a noun. (This is my example of his writing.). He uses it instead of employing a semicolon or a hyphen. I found it annoying and bothersome.
72 people found this helpful
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Doggeman
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good read, not his best work
Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2019
A mostly engaging read. Heavier than usual with Heller''s outdoorsy-fisherman details. Good not great story has more potential than it lives up to. The compressed, summarized, after-the-fact concluding drama is not as satisfying as the pages that lead up to it promise. Too... See more
A mostly engaging read. Heavier than usual with Heller''s outdoorsy-fisherman details. Good not great story has more potential than it lives up to. The compressed, summarized, after-the-fact concluding drama is not as satisfying as the pages that lead up to it promise. Too bad that stuff wasn''t presented as active drama instead of as an abbreviated post script. The novel lacks a solid, knockout-punch ending. Feels like he rushed in writing the final parts. Not his best work but still pretty good.
57 people found this helpful
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Tony Hayden
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Review of the Writer.
Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2019
Turning to page one of a Peter Heller novel is commensurate with beginning a long awaited vacation to a secluded beach on a desert island. Left alone with a singular voice in your head, free to explore the foggy reaches of an excitable imagination. It is easy to compare... See more
Turning to page one of a Peter Heller novel is commensurate with beginning a long awaited vacation to a secluded beach on a desert island. Left alone with a singular voice in your head, free to explore the foggy reaches of an excitable imagination. It is easy to compare Peter Heller to Jack London, or Jonathan Swift, or Stephen Crane, but it is also careless to do so. Peter Heller has earned his own position among these great authors and he steps past them with his innate ability to capture that deep loneliness that resides in each one of us. That drive to be honorable and good and always...always undiscovered. I am in awe of this writer''s genius and I will continue to seek out and relish in his works.
52 people found this helpful
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book lover
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Missed the Mark
Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2019
I wanted to like this book. There was writing in parts that was wonderful. But the plot was boring and confusing and not worth my time to wait it out, I flipped through the pages and was more bored so I flipped to the end. Some of the writing was very mundane. Where was... See more
I wanted to like this book. There was writing in parts that was wonderful. But the plot was boring and confusing and not worth my time to wait it out, I flipped through the pages and was more bored so I flipped to the end. Some of the writing was very mundane. Where was the ediitor?I read the canoe was kevlar many many times , that made it glide onto the beach etc etc etc. Too many laundry lists of all their supplies etc. and the answer to it all from a woman who could not talk. Geez.
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dustylee
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great writing, Compelling narrative
Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2019
I picked up this book both because i enjoy outdoor adventure stories, but also because i took a 10-day canoe trip in that area at camp as an adolescent, and it was a formative experience in many ways. However, I stayed with the novel (which I read rather quickly) because... See more
I picked up this book both because i enjoy outdoor adventure stories, but also because i took a 10-day canoe trip in that area at camp as an adolescent, and it was a formative experience in many ways. However, I stayed with the novel (which I read rather quickly) because of the poetic descriptions of the river, the ferocity of fire, and the remarkable relationship between the two young men. It recalled both Jack London and Jon Krakauer in its capacity to maintain a slow developing sense of suspense, while never losing sight of the miraculous power of nature. I immediately wanted to go back to the Canadian boundary waters and embark on a similar, yet safer, adventure.
39 people found this helpful
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Sean
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Meh. Great writing, thin characters, abrupt ending.
Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2019
On a positive note, this book is written very well. I found most of the descriptions lovely, and I had a really vivid image in my mind of the various scenes and settings. There''s some great insights about life that you''ll probably want to highlight, they''re so well framed.... See more
On a positive note, this book is written very well. I found most of the descriptions lovely, and I had a really vivid image in my mind of the various scenes and settings. There''s some great insights about life that you''ll probably want to highlight, they''re so well framed. Wonderful nature analogies. The short sentence style didn''t bother me, but I do think some readers will find it annoying.

Onto the negatives: the story itself is pretty thin, as are the characters. Jack and Wynn are two childhood friends on a kayaking trip in the remote wilderness who have to use all their wits and outdoorsy know-how to escape a sudden raging wildfire. The ending is probably the biggest issue...it''s quick and emotionless, and doesn''t feel like it belong to the rest of the story.

I''d save this for an airplane ride, or maybe a long day at the beach. It can be read in its entirety in either setting.
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Top reviews from other countries

Sarah-Lou
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A story of friendship
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2019
Jack and Wynn are best friends from college, who decide to take a canoe trip through the wilderness before their next term starts. Their plan is to enjoy a journey where they can live by fishing and foraging, taking in the beauty of the North Canadian landscape. Their plans...See more
Jack and Wynn are best friends from college, who decide to take a canoe trip through the wilderness before their next term starts. Their plan is to enjoy a journey where they can live by fishing and foraging, taking in the beauty of the North Canadian landscape. Their plans are scuppered as a wildfire makes progress through the forest. In their haste to avoid being caught up in it, they do not stop when they hear a man and woman arguing in the fog on the riverbank, but the next day they come across a man who says his wife has disappeared. Wynn and Jack go to search for her, all the while aware of the danger of the spreading fire. When they find her it is apparent she did not get lost, but had been attacked. Was it attempted murder by her husband? The friends find themselves in a battle to get themselves and the woman to safety before the fire and the attacker reaches them first. Although Jack and Wynn find themselves in a dramatic situation, the true story is of their friendship and what made them the people they are today. Beautifully written, but heavily descriptive when is comes to scenery and how they navigate the river.
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D. Beecher
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thrilling action-adventure.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 12, 2019
I have been longing for a good action adventure recently and this really hit the spot. It''s fast paced, with great characterisation and poetic description of the natural world, modern Jack London. However towards the end there is a point where the author chose to cut away...See more
I have been longing for a good action adventure recently and this really hit the spot. It''s fast paced, with great characterisation and poetic description of the natural world, modern Jack London. However towards the end there is a point where the author chose to cut away to tell the end of the story in a different way. It felt wrong to me and I take off a star for that. I am still happy to highly recommend this book though, the first two thirds were the best stuff I''ve read in ages.
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WhiteHorses
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Special
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2021
The book is special. The characters well chosen. In a way, the River is a character, an ever present powerful one in the same way that Egdon Heath is in Thomas Hardy''s, the Return of The Native. He mixes his styles from descriptive to poetic to mystical and uses the callous...See more
The book is special. The characters well chosen. In a way, the River is a character, an ever present powerful one in the same way that Egdon Heath is in Thomas Hardy''s, the Return of The Native. He mixes his styles from descriptive to poetic to mystical and uses the callous iceberg on one occasion to great effect. Heller is a real talent and, this book a most enjoyable experience. I will read it again. Special.
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MR D JONES
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2019
Enjoying the book and raced through to the end. Don''t want to give anything away but I was expecting more of a twist, or twists, in the tale (not quite sure about how to put it but felt there was more of a story in some of the characters that wasn''t exploited)... so feel...See more
Enjoying the book and raced through to the end. Don''t want to give anything away but I was expecting more of a twist, or twists, in the tale (not quite sure about how to put it but felt there was more of a story in some of the characters that wasn''t exploited)... so feel ever so disappointed. Well written and get you get the sense of the wilderness and the river and the sense of impending danger really well.
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The writerman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Two men and a canoe get more than they bargained for.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 24, 2019
A well written story with very believable characters. The wild, remote river setting felt authentic and the description of the camping life made me want to be there. When new people entered the story the tension built up just right for a very exciting read.
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