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Riverby Lowen Clausen
Synopses & Reviews
From a remote corner of a vanishing American landscape, a bereaved father begins a journey down the river that has been all but inseparable from his life. At the river’s origin the shallow stream courses through the ranch where he was born. It is where he fell in love the first time and where the ashes of his son have been poured.
“Now, before it’s too late, before I lose the will to do anything, I am leaving this land to follow the sticks I dropped into the river so long ago.” But this man’s passage along the interlacing rivers to the ocean will not be simple or disconnected from the life he leaves behind. His estranged son’s last angry words echo in his memory, and despite moments of pure concentration on the waters ahead, the solitary voyager finds the past seeping into his thoughts and dreams.
In River, novelist Lowen Clausen has created a story of deep beauty and seriousness, in which he weaves together the complex threads of one man’s search for wholeness. Clausen’s rich, elegiac prose becomes its own landscape and river, transporting the reader on a journey through despair and doubt into discovery.
"Inspired by a 1,700-mile, 50-day kayak voyage novelist Clausen (Third and Forever) and his daughter took from Nebraska's Loup River to where the Mississippi empties into the Gulf of Mexico, this novel is narrated by a bereaved father following the same route. Haunted by his grown son's death, his failed marriage and his own unfulfilled childhood dreams, the middle-aged man, known only as John, leaves his ranch and sets off in a homemade kayak named 'Gloria,' pursuing an echo of Huckleberry Finn's search for freedom and identity. Though his self-pity can be overbearing, John gradually opens up to the reader through flashbacks, dreams and conversations, revealing a complex character unsure of his own motives and desires. Clausen's best moments turn up on dry land, where John runs into a cast of intriguing characters, but the majority of the action occurs between man and river; as such, the plot can get stuck in slow-moving waters. Still, Clausen's vivid prose and attention to detail should keep the readers' interest, especially those intrigued by river kayaking." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A tale of solitary travel and the spiritually healing powers of nature, this multi-layered narrative follows a bereaved father as he kayaks his way through grief.
A tale of solitary travel and the spiritually healing powers of nature, this multilayered narrative follows a bereaved father as he kayaks his way through grief. The shallow stream in northwestern Nebraska where he starts his journey is all but inseparable from this lonely man’s life—it’s where he fell in love for the first time, had his first sexual encounters, and scattered the ashes of his son. Deemed a fitting place to realize his long overdue dream of building a boat and letting the river take him where it may, the man launches his kayak and soul into the water. With the angry last words of his son echoing in his head, the man abandons himself to the river and its whims with the hope that it will lead him to forgiveness and understanding of the tangled relationship he had with his estranged son.
About the Author
Lowen Clausen is the author of First Avenue, Second Watch, and Third & Forever. He lives in Seattle.
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