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The Voice of the River: A Novel

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  58 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Missing: seventeen-year-old Kai Dionne and his dog Talia.

The search for these two spans a single day, morning twilight to late evening, from the time Kai leaps in a half-frozen river to save the dog to the hour he and Talia are recovered. Each person who comes to the river brings his or her secret needs and desires; each has known loss, and all are survivors: a homele
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 9th 2011 by Fiction Collective 2
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Oct 12, 2011 Angela rated it it was amazing
Few writers possess the gift of transforming the ugly into the beautiful or taking the marginal and making it mainstream. In "The Voice of the River," Thon illuminates the infinite goodness inherent in all of humanity by uniting the misfits and castaways in a common cause: to find a 17-year old boy and his beloved dog who have fallen into a frozen river.

With lyrical mastery and a good sense of story, Thon weaves each character's unique narrative into a tale full of magic and mystery. A must read
Jun 27, 2012 Becky rated it did not like it
Shelves: grown-ups
Someone at the library told me I "had to" read this, so I checked it out, but I just don't get it. I couldn't keep track of all the characters, it bounces around so much and there are too many pronouns, and the narrative voice (is it the river?)wasn't engaging to me at all. I almost didn't finish this, but Megan shamed me into doing it, because I never not finish books.
Aug 26, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Not quite sure how I feel about this one: it pulled me in and kept me engaged, but didn't leave me with a strong impression one way or the other. The poetic voice was a pleasure, and there are some powerful sections (the chapter about a young girl lost and wandering her neighborhood overnight, for instance). But it seemed to tread the same ground as several other novels (Kent Meyers The River Warren, Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, and Brian Doyle's Mink River, for example) ...more
Jul 05, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
Very poetic and beautiful to read. Sometimes I got a little confused with the narrative. Probably would have given a higher rating, but wasn't in the mood for a book like this.
Oct 29, 2011 Jody rated it it was ok
A 17 year old boy Kai and his dog Talia fall through the ice on a river. The book details the search over the next 24 hours. The story is somewhat spiritual as members of search parties are looking for the boy while reflecting on their own lives. There is also abundant nature and wildlife in these reflections, sometimes too much in their graphic descriptions. The people who are looking for the pair include many "eccentric" people who have their own stories to tell. Unfortunately, I found it hard ...more
Kelly Barraza
Nov 30, 2015 Kelly Barraza rated it it was amazing
Delicately cradles the line between nature's comforts and brutality. Wonderfully poetic & acutely aware of the sonic, visual, temporal devices on which the style relies so heavily. One of the few books I've read where style almost entirely swallows narrative and totally succeeds—still, the leanness of the narrative is still balanced, tenuous. I mean, it's just freaking gorgeous honestly. The chapters where Thon moves in and out of the second person POV are a masterclass show of how to do a n ...more
Nina Schuyler
Apr 26, 2013 Nina Schuyler rated it it was amazing
A love song to the world, that's what the prose sings to me. How love and then the loss of love brings together a community around the river, this artery of churning water coursing through this small town. Pitch perfect in terms of truth, with its insights into love and its shadow, loss. The "You" throughout is the boy lost in the river, and the "you," blurs with all the rest of the characters in the book. Soon, you begin to feel there are no borders between people, objects, animals, trees, crow ...more
Aaron Cance
Jun 16, 2012 Aaron Cance rated it really liked it
Melanie scrutinizes every word and phrase when she writes, and it shows in the finished product! This lyrical, haunting story of a boy and dog gone missing along a frozen river, and the day long search to find them (the entire novel takes place within the single day), will stay with you long after you've put it down.

Update: This book just won the Fiction category of the 2011 Reading the West Awards, sponsored by the Mountains and Plains Indipendent Booksellers Association!
Tracy Gregory
Jul 06, 2012 Tracy Gregory rated it it was ok

There were moments in the book that worked really well for me, but over all it was too abstract and not enough developed in the plot. There was a lot of characterization in terms of the individual, but I would have really liked to see more interaction between the characters. Great concept, and beautiful language, but maybe just not my kind of book.
Jun 03, 2012 Melissa rated it liked it
Recommended to Melissa by: Hilary
Though I was initially a bit resistant -- to the lyricism, I suppose, and the fact of reading fiction (just someone making stuff up!) -- I was taken by this book in the end. It is nice, actually, to read rhythmic sentences full of striking imagery, and let someone tell you a story, after all.
Apr 15, 2014 Kswaxman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written but so so sad
Jul 31, 2012 Nancy rated it it was amazing
A lyrical page-turner.
E.j. Levy
Jan 09, 2012 E.j. Levy rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece.
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Melanie Rae Thon is a Professor of English at the University of Utah.
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