Reviews in 200 Words

What This River Keeps by Greg Schwipps

In Novel on March 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

Everything moves when the river moves; everything changes when the river does. Located in the hills of southern Indiana, Schwipps presents a community much like the river that surrounds it: full of sadness and comfort, a thing that doesn’t end. The characters in this novel rely on the river in different ways; some approach old age and only feel alive fishing on its banks, while others embark on new love and new life. This book is packed with the stark reality that growing up and growing old brings. Packed with good and necessary changes, but also drastic changes, like altering the land, and the water. Schwipps’ characters are cold and hardened—they beat each other to the point of blackened eyes for the sake of pride. But they’re also hilarious—they’re young and stupid, they drive cars too fast and drink too much beer. The kind of people you hope to meet someday and the kind you hope you never do. At the center of this novel is eminent domain—the absolute loss of land and power. The people of this small town learn change whether they want to or not; it’s their utter humanness that is so easy to relate to: the pain of loss, the yearning to love, and the comfort of being needed.

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