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"Bruce Murkoff's debut novel, Waterborne, braves all the challenges of its monumental subject: the Hoover Dam. What a feat of literary engineering to construct a story around 6-1/2 million tons of concrete! History is strewn with the remains of novels that have collapsed under less weight; characters and themes buried beneath a rubble of details that hardworking authors couldn't keep standing. Indeed, the dimensions of this challenge make Murkoff's success all the more remarkable." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire Christian Science Monitor review)
Synopses & Reviews
A panorama of human desire and enterprise, Bruce Murkoff's first novel is exceptional for its ambition, its grasp of history and, above all, its stunning array of characters.
Waterborne is set in the Great Depression, and culminates at the Boulder Dam: the greatest engineering project of its time, and a beacon of hope capable of altering the course of society. The nation, crippled by poverty and despair, clearly needs a transformation, and the same is true of the people. Filius Poe grew up with everything, then lost nearly all of it. Lew Beck felt deprived of everything, and now means to have his revenge. Lena McCardell, who thought she had exactly what she wanted, discovers almost overnight that only by taking her son and joining the multitude already on the road will she have the chance of a fresh start and a brighter future.
From various directions and distances, these three are inevitably drawn to this vast construction site in the Nevada desert, along with the stories of their families, their friends and their fellow travelers' the novel itself developing the force of a mighty river, then channeling and harnessing its prodigious energy. With generous understanding and absolute authority, Bruce Murkoff captures the conflicting imperatives of these vivid lives as well as the heart and breadth of the country through which they move, and whose destiny they help shape.
"This powerful first novel aspires to the same epic heights as the project at its center....This is an ambitious and superbly realized work, one in which the large-scale transformation of nature finds a counterpart in the smaller, but equally significant, transformations in the lives of those involved." Lawrence Rungren, Library Journal
"[A] masterfully orchestrated novel...a gorgeously written, Steinbeck-like saga that is part thriller, part romance, and part social critique, replete with blissful and brutal sexuality, unbridled prejudice, and acts of both kindness and mayhem." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Marred only by a melodramatic ending, the novel announces the arrival of a real talent." Publishers Weekly
"[A] solid debut....Ambitious and ultimately successful." Kirkus Reviews
A panorama of human desire and enterprise, this debut novel is exceptional for its ambition, generosity, characters and grasp of history.
About the Author
Bruce Murkoff was born in 1953, spent many years in California and now lives in Stone Ridge, New York.
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