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River of the Brokenhearted
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River of the Brokenhearted

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  327 ratings  ·  31 reviews
In the 1920s, Janie McLeary and George King run one of the first movie theatres in the Maritimes. The marriage of the young Irish Catholic woman to an older English man is thought scandalous, but they work happily together, playing music to accompany the films. When George succumbs to illness and dies, leaving Janie with one young child and another on the way, the unscrupu ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 15th 2004 by Anchor Canada (first published August 5th 2003)
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I'm thinking that the far East Coast of Canada is kind of like our version of Appalachia or the South. Dark twisted stories seem to brew out of these region of our friends from the North who have graced us with Tim Hortons, Propagahndi, and Alex Trebek (yes, those are the big three cultural exports from Canada, you can take it from me I got a B plus in my Introduction to Canada class in college).

The book is a sweeping family drama set in a small New Brunswick river town. The central actors in t
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"In the 1920s, Janie McLeary and George King run one of the first movie theatres in the Maritimes. The marriage of the young Irish Catholic woman to an older English man is thought scandalous, but they work happily together, playing music to accompany the films. When George succumbs to illness and dies, leaving Janie with one young child and another on the way, the unscrupulous Joey Elias tries to take over the business. But Janie guards the theatre with a shotgun, and still in mourning
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
David Adams Richards uses the life of his grandmother as inspiration for the character Hanna Jane (Janie) McLeary King in River of the Brokenhearted, a multigenerational family saga set in a small New Brunswick village. The novel is narrated by her grandson, Wendell King, and covers four generations of the McLeary/King family. Joey Elias is the family's nemesis, as well as the Druken family. Where Janie's tenacity helps her overcome great persecution and brings her financial success, her family ...more
Catherine Gordon
I don't really know how I feel about this book. It was well written, but the characters are umsympathetic and tragedy piles upon tragedy. It is a miracle that any of them actually end up married - I am still unclear why anynoe would actually want them. The story itself is incredibly sad and depressing. You are compelled to keep reading to the end but I wouldn't say it was an enjoyable read more of an endurance test.
I was one of the brokenhearted while reading this. It is true that DAR has quite the sense of humour, but there is nothing funny about the stories the characters have to tell, even when they are at their funniest, which is to say, drunk. I am not shocked by the depravity one can find in a small town, but in this small town, every day things, like going to school or the barber shop are tinged with nastiness. The writing is incredibly good, saving me from putting the book down. The only problem I ...more
A multi-generational story told with beautiful prose by Richards. The setting is the Miramichi River area of New Brunswick, with two families recently immigrated from Ireland maintaining a feud begun in 1790. One of the families are the owners of a movie theater and drive-in from the silent era until the 1980s. Old Hollywood films and stars litter the novel, and the business becomes central to much of the action of the plot. Thoroughly enjoyed this book!
I enjoyed this book as much as Mercy Among The Children. David Adams Richards writes a good story that gets you involved from the beginning and keeps you involved all along the way. It is similar in theme to Mercy in that it takes place along the Miramichi River in New Brunswick and is narrated by someone whose father was bullied in childhood and relates the effect that has had on the family. It spans two generations which brings the story all together. Some may find the story relentlessly dishe ...more
Paula Dembeck
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colleen Hetherington
I can't say that I found joy in reading this book, but it will haunt me. A masterful work, with some humour in a very bleak family saga.
gosh I hate it when I forget I've read something...then I buy it and start all comes back to me...I'm a big fan of David Adams Richards
Phyllis Peterson
After 200pages I just don't care about these people and the writing isn't good enough to keep me reading
A sad, bittersweet story. I loved it. This is the second book I've read from this author, and although I have enjoyed both, I'm not looking forward to feeling sadness on a third.
Gave up - maybe just not in the mood but I couldn't get into this book.
Crosly Anderson
I am planning to do a review on this as soon as I get the time. :D
The book spans over sixty years (1920's to 1990's) in the McLeary/King family history. My main question is with how the narrator knew what was happening in scenes in which he was not involved. It was not a bad read, but I found it hard at times to believe that what was being described would actually happen. The narrator and his father are alcoholics, so maybe that explains it.
Vicki McEwan
WOW! David Adams Richards is the author of the century. Characters that are transfixing, each contributing to the others, all entwined in the story of life,good and bad for what its worth. No fairies, no space ships, just what life is all about and how one human contributes to the next, to the next, to the next....much more drawing and fulfilling than make believe.
It's been a while since I read any of his books so I can't remember if every character is always so completely unsympathetic. Still, I was sucked in from page 1 and never wanted to look away from the tragedy of their lives. This booked seemed less Miramichi than I remember in others, like it could have been written about any small town of the time.
Pam Bustin
Aces. As always. I dig his stuff.

This one is about ... a family. The Kings.

Based on his family - or at least some events in the life of his grandmother. In the dedication:

“To....cousins... who know that though this is based on incidents in the life of our grandmother Janie - it is a work of fiction.”

Nice one.
It was a sad story that spanned generations and there was a twist of a mystery that you didn't find out till the end of the 300 some page book. I will read something else by him because he is a good storyteller, but he's kind of wordy and not real easy to read.
Daniel Kukwa
Not quite the "happiest" of David Adams Richards' novels. Better to label it as the most emotionally satisfying...though the emotions tend to be on the dark end of the revenge, retribution & come-uppance scale.
I liked this book at the beginning. I just . . . never got any better I guess. Too many people with sad little lives and no redeeming qualities. It was O.K., but I got to where I just couldn't wait to be finished.
I absolutely loved this book. It was so sad and heartbreaking yet also extremely moving. I believe that it is one of the best books I have ever read! There are some really good quotes in it.
historical sweep from a great storyteller. He used 5 words when one would do. This book was a slow read. I stopped at 3/4 of the way through because I really didnt care how it ended. ...more
Lori Bamber
I found this book terribly hard to read, with about 200 pages too much of the worst of human behaviour.
Dave Peterson
It took a while for the author to wrap up this dreary tale and it made me want to drink.
Good novel great dialogue between Miles and his son makes it worth the read.
Put it down about 100 pages in. Way to slow.
Gave up about 50 pages in - lame.
Shonna Froebel
Very well-written, but so terribly sad
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David Adams Richards (born 17 October 1950) is a Canadian novelist, essayist, screenwriter and poet.

Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Richards left St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick, one course shy of completing a B.A. Richards has been a writer-in-residence at various universities and colleges across Canada, including the University of New Brunswick.

Richards has received numerou
More about David Adams Richards...
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“Now you here and dealing not with him, who is dead, but with me, who is sitting here.”

“But,” he said in exasperation, “that’s not the way it should be.”

“I agree,” Janie King said.
“You agree,” he said, showing some surprise in his voice.

“Yes,” said Janie with a smile. “No idiot should ever be in your position. But since an idiot is and I am dealing with him, it is bloody unfortunate for us both.” She rose.

David Adams Richards River of the Brokenhearted”
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