Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This River Awakens” as Want to Read:
This River Awakens
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This River Awakens

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Owen's family moves from the city to the countryside, and the adolescent Owen quickly develops friendships and rivalries. When he discovers a corpse in the river, it proves the catalyst for a spiralling descent into the darker reaches of the community, and a stark rites of passage for Owen.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Tor Books (first published January 1st 1998)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This River Awakens, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about This River Awakens

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 214)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Douglas Lord
This river don’t awaken too quick, lemme tell ya. Erikson, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen fantasy series, presents a sputtering, sprawling bildungsroman centered on new-kid-in-rural-Canadian-town Owen Brand, aged 12. Many deftly-drawn characters shoulder portions of this circa 1971 narrative; all are damaged. From an unstable mink farmer to a drunken wife-beater, a dearth of role models faces Owen and the three mismatched boys he hangs around with. This lack spills over into Owen’s occ ...more
Stephen Hayes
Until about halfway through this book, I wasn't sure whether I was going to like it or not. It's about a bunch of kids aged about 12 or 13 living in an in-between place somewhere between the city and farmlands. I lived in such a place when I was that age, so to that extent it felt familiar, but I wasn't aware of the existence of such a bunch of messed-up people. That doesn't mean that they weren't there in the place where I grew up, just that I wasn't aware of them. And I wouldn't have dared to ...more
Bob Alberti
Jul 20, 2014 Bob Alberti rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Bob by: no one
Shelves: avoid
This was sold to me in a science fiction bookstore, so my review reflects my disappointment that this story had no science fiction or fantasy elements whatsoever. There were lengthy, indulgent italicized forays into the mental fantasies of the characters, but there was no actual fantasy component to the story. It's basically 'Stand By Me" set in Canada, and laced in the final chapters with the introduction of Professor Umbridge from 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,' sans magic.

The bo
Wow. Having already read so much from Erikson, I felt like I knew what to expect, or at least had some idea... This River Awakens was something else entirely, and frankly amazing for an authors first work. The writing can be stunning at times, and the story is visceral and real.
Elisa Baker
If you, like me, are picking up this book because you are in withdrawal of Erikson's Malazan writing ... probably don't? You'll only be confused and resentful by how much it's not that. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth reading! It starts off slow, and gets sort of horrible around the middle (animal abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse ...) but then I realized that I actually couldn't stop reading. The characters are all pretty flawed, and as a few people have mentioned I .. don' ...more
Adventures in SciFi Publishing Podcast
A novel that was initially hard to get into, and merits as slow reading, proved to be highly rewarding ultimately. On so many levels. First one can enjoy the language for its own sake, the many lyrical passages positively pulsing with energy and vividness. Second, the empathy we can feel for the characters, even the worst of them. The most appalling of the protagonists are fleshed out in enough detail so that their behavior, while not excusable, is at least understandable. It is a gift of the au ...more
This River Awakens is incredible. It’s incredibly disturbing, incredibly dark, incredibly atmospheric, and incredibly beautiful. It’s a raw, visceral coming-of-age story and absolutely unlike anything I’ve ever imagined the author could, or would, write. It’s a haunting tale that will stick to you like glue once you finish it, though you might have to work a bit for that finish. It’s worth it (squeamish readers beware). This River Awakens has its share of problems, and it’s definitely not for ev ...more
Derrel Schnurr
The ability of this author to comprehend and recreate the human condition has always astounded me. I'm not referring to "the human condition" in an inspirational, we're-all-in-this-together kind of way. Rather, he uncomfortably captures what fucks us up, what makes us feel, what makes us choose, what we hide from, etc..

This book is human dysfunction. Not sensationalized; not glossed over. It's a book that spans a year of melancholy. Relationships forged, broken, and inexplicably maintained. In
Peter Bonk
Typical of most Erikson novels, This River Awakens starts slow but finishes strong. Although labelled a coming of age story, the 12 and 13 year olds act and behave more like older teens. Drugs, sex, language, and bullying are presented as typical behaviour of these small town Canadian kids in 1971. The strength of this novel lies in the all too few conversations between the lead character Owen and his friend Roland. They speak of what it is to be growing up poor, and again typical of his novels, ...more
Todd Campbell
Stunning. It's hard to believe this was a debut novel by an author. Beautifully written novel which is completely different to his fantasy novels, Erikson captures the human condition wonderfully here. Highly recommended.
Wow! Couldn,t put this down!
Paul Sysiak
I actually really enjoyed this having struggled at the start.

About mid-way I started to actually care what happened - each character is so flawed from the start they dont' ingratiate themselves at all.

First book I've read in a while that has real themes and accurate portrayals of human frailties and demons.

However much I enjoyed this I hope that Erikson stays with his fantasy writing as I personally enjoy that more.
I was unsure of this book to start as it is written in an unusual way. But, by the end I had really enjoyed. The characters won me over and the story was very engaging.
A disturbing story, hard to read to begin with as the language is harsh but the characters take hold and I had to continue to the end to see how it turned out.
A dark read, but interesting character development.
Madeleine McLaughlin
Superb. Wonderful. So inspiring.
A beautiful coming of age story.
Blogs is currently reading it
Aug 02, 2015
Tonya added it
Jul 20, 2015
Josh marked it as to-read
Jul 05, 2015
Manolo marked it as to-read
Jun 13, 2015
Lafcadio marked it as to-read
Jun 10, 2015
Michael marked it as to-read
May 27, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Job
  • Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe
  • Entwined Paths (Landon Saga #2)
  • 1913: The Eve of War
  • Beatniks
  • The Native Commissioner:  A Novel
  • Johnny Alucard (Anno Dracula, #4)
  • Bailout Over Normandy: A Flyboy's Adventures with the French Resistance and Other Escapades in Occupied France
  • Spymaster: Startling Cold War Revelations of a Soviet KGB Chief
  • Blood and Bone (Malazan Empire #5)
  • Apple Of My Eye
  • Saigon
  • Age of Iron (Iron Age, #1)
  • In the Memory of the Forest
  • Bauchelain and Korbal Broach (The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, #1-3)
  • A Thousand Perfect Things
  • No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland's Forces in World War II
  • The Witch of Exmoor
Steven Erikson is the pseudonym of Steve Rune Lundin, a Canadian novelist, who was educated and trained as both an archaeologist and anthropologist. His best-known work is the on-going series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen.
More about Steven Erikson...
Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1) Deadhouse Gates (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #2) Memories of Ice (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #3) House of Chains (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #4) Midnight Tides (The Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5)

Share This Book