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Suspicious River

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  326 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
Leila Murry is young, married, and working in a motel as a receptionist - and then as a prostitute. The seemingly random abuses and perils of her adult life parallel those Leila suffered as a child, and in reliving them she is uncertain whether she will survive them this time, or indeed, if she wishes to. This "extremely powerful debut" tells a story that is at once "profo ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 18th 1997 by Mariner Books (first published March 5th 1996)
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Nov 23, 2016 Jaidee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that like the dark
Recommended to Jaidee by: a friend who is also a poet
Shelves: five-stars-books

5 "disturbing, powerful, disembodied" stars !

Most people in my life will be grateful that I finally finished this novel by Ms. Kasischke. I started this on November 23 and not since 2666 by Mr. Bolano have I been as impacted, impressed and influenced by a novel. This was published in 1997 and is this author's first novel although she had a number of poetry books published. I spoke about this to my gal friends, my boi pals, my family, my niece, my writing group and mostly of course to my partne
Jan 11, 2012 Mariel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: how to get it done in Michigan
Recommended to Mariel by: knig
I went to the library after work, on some saturday not long ago that already feels long ago, because I didn't want to go home. (I paid the price for what I wanted to avoid, as those things usually go. A day, not put off after all, wanted to end that has already ended. I never learn my lesson.) I knelt on the library floor, avoiding skinless knees, (from some clumsy accident that I felt way stupider about than I should've. Well, clumsiness has already been well documented in the Twilight saga so ...more
Sep 09, 2008 courtney rated it it was amazing
this book did the unthinkable: it wove past and present together using incredibly descriptive and efficient language, was a really compelling page-turner, and -- AND it was a deeply emotionally affecting novel.

there are friends of mine who read the reviews i write and say "how could you read something so dark?" and i have no real answer. i am amazed that a writer can so capably manipulate my moods as this one does. laura kasischke wields a great deal of power -- meting out information as needed
Lynette Eklund
Mar 27, 2012 Lynette Eklund rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary
Very lyrical, but there were times when the words were lost to me. (The walls throbbed around me like kindness, like kidneys...") Huh? ("She handed me a tissue, and it smelled like wet white roses...") I've smelled a lot of roses, but I've never smelled any rose that smelled of damp tissue. Nor does white emote a specific scent to me.

In spite of the sometimes overly strong poetic tone, I couldn't make myself stop reading this book. I can't really say it was a pleasure to read, but it brought fo
Katie Mcdonough
Mar 23, 2012 Katie Mcdonough rated it it was amazing
I may never get over this book. Luckily I can just read it over and over for the rest of my life. That said, it's not for everyone. The language is often more like poetry than prose. The story is heart-crushing with very few moments of levity. But the writing is magical. Some sentences made me stop dead and look around me, as if to make sure I was still on Earth. I called my best friend and read her paragraphs over the phone. I couldn't believe it when I learned that it's out of print. I want to ...more
Dec 11, 2010 Erica added it
I loved Laura Kasischke's In a Perfect World, and we're publishing her new book, The Raising, in March. Laura is a poet, and both of those books are beautifully written yet also fairly commercial. Suspicious River is different. It's about a young woman, Leila, who has started working as a prostitute at the motel where she handles the front desk. It is much more htmlgiant-esque than target-esque like her later books, and it makes me want to read the rest of them to see if this was a subtle shift ...more
J'ai hésité pendant ma lecture entre ennui profond et attraction malsaine... Le style de l'auteur m'insupportait au début, finalement vers la fin j'ai un peu mieux apprécié.
Mais un mois plus tard, je ne sais toujours pas quoi penser de ce roman !
May 10, 2017 Elisha rated it liked it
Immediately sucked into the story of Leila on the first page. The story itself was intriguing, and I had a hard time putting the book down. A character study in a tragic life, with bits and details given out little by little as the reader puts the pieces together. Leila has a disturbing childhood, which morphs into her current young-adult life and I couldn't help but be drawn into the mystery of how she got to where she is now. At times, I felt sorry for Leila, but other times, I saw her strengt ...more
May 05, 2017 MadAboutBooks rated it liked it
Ma chronique : https://wereallmadaboutbooks.wordpres...

Dans ce premier roman prometteur, Laura Kasischke ne se dépare pas de sa plume si poétique et de cette atmosphère pesante et angoissante qui lui est chère. Roman noir, sulfureux, où aucune violente n’est épargnée, on assiste dans Suspicious River impuissant à la lente descente aux enfers de Leila dans sa quête identitaire. Elle abandonne son petit couple ordinaire mais salutaire pour se jeter à corps perdu dans les bras d’un homme dangereux
Jan 14, 2014 Loïc rated it liked it
Apparemment, Laura Kasischke est surtout connue pour la poésie qu'elle écrit. Ca ne m'étonne pas beaucoup, je ne suis pas très réceptif à la poésie et les multiples métaphores et comparaisons sont la raison pour laquelle je n'ai pas donné une meilleure note à ce livre.

Je ne suis peut être pas très imaginatif, et j'ai besoin que la métaphore ait un sens facile et que je puisse, justement, l'imaginer. Les feuilles mortes bougent dans le vent, mais ont-elles vraiment besoin de le faire "comme des
Veronica Wills
May 03, 2015 Veronica Wills rated it really liked it
I raced through the last handful of chapters to find an "un-ending" which was really frustrating. One of those endings you have to complete for yourself. So I jumped on the web to find some perspectives and found the story had been made into a movie with the authors participation. I was compelled to buy the $10 DVD on Amazon prime to try to find some conclusive answers.

Back to the book, the writing is true to the author's form: lots of allegory, simile and poetic description ad nauseum. Makes f
Sep 12, 2014 Morgan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I probably wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Honestly I wasn't that drawn in with the story, or the character. I felt basically no sympathy for her or her situation. The writing could be called "elegant" and "lyrical" and I agree that her skill with poetry can be seen in the way she chooses to describe scenes--but... The fact that she uses such carefully selected words and in very specific ways made me notice EVEN MORE when she repeated words, or gave a half-assed metaphor. I didn't like t ...more
Rey Dal
Mar 28, 2016 Rey Dal rated it it was amazing
Ok so a good friend of mine recommended this book to me and my GOD I fell in love with the way in which Laura writes so beautifully and with so much power and brutality. Her writing style comforts me as she uses powerful similes and imagery to ease such brutal situations that happen in the novel. She makes out as if being repeatedly rape was so easy for the character, so eery- heartless feel to the book. Don't like to ruin plots on here, but if you fancy a long'ish novel about a life of a 24 yea ...more
Sep 02, 2009 Kayla rated it really liked it
I read a memoir about a woman who was reading one book a week for a year and one of her chapters talked about great first lines. Suspicious River was one of the books she mentioned.

First line:

"The first time I had sex with a man for money, it was September..."

I was instantly intrigued. My college library happened to own a copy of this book, so of course I checked it out. This book is very dark and sad and beautifully written, and the main character isn't very likeable. But the thing is that she
Jul 02, 2015 Ginger rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant, extremely well written book. It reminded me of the work of Mary McGarry Morris. Laura Kasischke is a poet and this book is something between a poem and prose. I loved the writing as much or more than the story. This book is dark, disturbing, underbelly, in your face and NOT for the leisure reader. It is haunting and will stay with me for quite some time. I loved it, but read with caution!
Mar 20, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
This book made me really uncomfortable in a way that a novel has never done for me before. It's disturbing, it's (really really) dark, there is no relief at any point during the book. I admire Kasischke's style a lot, but I think her short stories and poetry are stronger. I'm not sure I would recommend this to anyone because of the dark tone and pretty triggering scenes, but I chose 3 stars instead of 2 because the book is very well written.
Jun 27, 2009 Alison rated it really liked it
Frustration, disgust, disbelief, shock...all of these feelings surface but this story is an amazing insight to how someone simply goes along with what crosses their path, accepting and engaging in behavior that damages the soul, and for what? I never understood WHY, but the author leaves it to us to decide.
Jun 07, 2015 Richard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: project_2015

An outrageously great book…this is one of my lifetime best-ever books. The story is compelling…everything one might want to know about life is available here…providing eyes are kept open and thinking is engaged…the language is beautiful and the generated images are powerful. I will have to trigger a spoiler alert if I write more…so, read this book and enjoy the ride…

Marina Sofia
Nov 10, 2016 Marina Sofia rated it liked it
A very troubling book, because of its subject matter and the cold way in which Leila seems to depersonalise her experiences and collude in anything bad which happens to her. All about control over one's body (from refusing to eat to allowing it to be abused). Very poetic language and descriptions, not all of which were entirely justified to be honest.
Jennings Peeler
Mar 08, 2015 Jennings Peeler rated it it was amazing
Shelves: project_2015

An outrageously great book…this is one of my lifetime best-ever books. The story is compelling…everything one might want to know about life is available here…providing eyes are kept open and thinking is engaged…the language is beautiful and the generated images are powerful. I will have to trigger a spoiler alert if I write more…so, read this book and enjoy the ride…

Feb 04, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
The ending, while deeply poetic, was confusing. But this book is beautifully haunting, brutally real, imagistic, and contains "prose poetry" on every page, due to Kasischke's writing style. Great novel.
Dec 07, 2008 Alex rated it really liked it
Yow! I could hardly bring myself to read on, and could not bear to stop. Rich, poetic, and heart-breaking language describe this violent, terrifying story of a woman whose life is destroyed by our culture's obsession with sex and violence.
I think this is Kasischke's first novel, but it's still very good. it follows a woman who works at the front desk of a motel, prostituting on the side. As the novel goes on, and you discover how fucked up the protagonist's upbringing was, and how fucked up society is, it becomes darker and darker.
Fabien Perez Vjaceslavs
Probably a lack of understanding, but her behaviour (main character) annoy the crap out of me.. However I like the atmosphere, far away from the America's clichés it reminds me some books of Jim Harrison (btw R.I.P).
Feb 12, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
Loved this very much when I first read it, but am coming around to thinking it might be a bit juvenile. Someone made a film of it that was pretty bad, I seem to remember. Poetic, slutty and probably just about pretentious enough.
Dec 30, 2013 Leigh rated it it was amazing
Poetically written, haunting, heavy hearted
Jules se livre
Nov 26, 2013 Jules se livre rated it liked it
Un roman psychologique qui se tient, c'est le premier de l'auteure.

Mon avis ici:
Apr 18, 2016 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very disturbing and dark novel. Well worth the read if you can deal with the storyline of abuse of a young woman.
Jun 25, 2009 Deidre rated it it was ok
Heather Elizabeth
Dec 23, 2011 Heather Elizabeth rated it liked it
i think this was supposed to shock me...but in the end, the character's self destruction just got old and was a good read though..finished it in one night
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Laura Kasischke (born 1961) is an American fiction writer and American poet with poetry awards and multiple well reviewed works of fiction. Her work has received the Juniper Prize, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Pushcart Prize, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers, and the Beatrice Hawley Award. She is the recipient of two fellowships from th ...more
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“The first time I had sex with a man for money, it was September.” 3 likes
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