The River, Peter Heller 2019

This is a perfect example of why I read the New York Times Sunday Book Review.  Leafing through an issue several weeks ago, I read a brief review of this novel, ordered it up on my computer from the Cambridge Public Library, and became lost in its intense story and fine style.  Heller, the author of two previous best sellers, tells a classic adventure story (think Deliverance or Meryl Streep’s 1994 movie, The River Wild) and kept me on the edge of my chair for two days.  Jack and Wynn, best friends and classmates at Dartmouth, fly into a peaceful lake in Canada’s Hudson Bay wilderness with a Kevlar canoe, food for several weeks, a rifle to keep bears and moose at bay, and a goal of reaching Hudson Bay before winter.  Their plans are upset by nature (fog, early Fall frosts, and most of all, a gigantic forest fire) and by unexpected encounters with two other groups.  Telling more of the story would only be a spoiler, so suffice it to say that Heller sure can write.  This is a great beach book if you don’t mind being nervous the whole time you read it.

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