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Waterborne

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  89 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Exceptional for its ambition, its grasp of history and, above all, its stunning array of characters, Bruce Murkoff's first novel is set in the Great Depression, when the Boulder Dam - the greatest engineering project of its time - was a beacon of hope capable of altering the course of society. With generous understanding and absolute authority, Murkoff captures the conflic ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 640 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Thorndike Press (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 179)
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Nick
Sep 03, 2010 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
This is the good stuff. The deep stuff. No disaffected twenty- somethings, or vampires, or scandinavian girls who who do stuff with fire or bees' nests and have stuff painted on them (though, i must say, that girl has me prety intrigued). Nope, this is literary fiction. Weighty. Meaty. Big in scope, ambition, and--to the credit of Murkoff--execution. Another example, like Casey's Our Burden's Light of a debut that just shouldnt be this good. This should come after a couple of books written clums ...more
Ron Charles
Nov 27, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Murkoff's debut novel, Waterborne, braves all the challenges of its monumental subject: the Hoover Dam. What a feat of literary engineering to construct a story around 6-1/2 million tons of concrete! History is strewn with the remains of novels that have collapsed under less weight; characters and themes buried beneath a rubble of details that hardworking authors couldn't keep standing. Indeed, the dimensions of this challenge make Murkoff's success all the more remarkable.

Like the great d
...more
Lisa Ramey
Apr 19, 2014 Lisa Ramey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-fiction
I'm amazed that Murkoff has so few reviews on Amazon. I've never done reviews there but may just to recommend him. I didn't think Waterborne was as good as Red Rain but that one so well crafted that it'd be hard to beat. If you want a fast moving story, may not be for you, but if you enjoy character development, he's excellent. I wish he had another book out.
Jonathan Briggs
May 02, 2012 Jonathan Briggs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The river begins." And for the next three gorgeously written pages, Bruce Murkoff describes the Colorado River's inexorable, irresistible progress over centuries, cutting its great passage through deep canyons across the land. This is writing to be parsed word by word, slowly, to be savored. It kicks off a book that's full of awe for a force of nature that demands it and full of admiration for the audacity, genius and filthy, backbreaking labor required to tame such a force. The Hoover administ ...more
David
Apr 11, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This impressive debut for Murkoff combines wonderfully cadenced, vivid descriptions of the depression era West with moving characterizations that gradually emerge from the landscape into compelling life. The lives of three individuals flow towards each other — Filius Poe, a strong silent master builder whose life has crashed about his ears; Lena McCardell, a woman and her son fleeing an Okalahoma traveling salesman who turned out to have another wife, another family; and Lew Beck, a tough Jewish ...more
Lucy
Oct 25, 2011 Lucy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Follows a bunch of different people in the 1930's whose lives intersect with the building of a large dam in Las Vegas. It was pretty well written but there was a lot of violence/dark sexual stuff that went along with the character development. I could see that he was trying to paint pictures of the characters but it felt like we were just wallowing in the characters weird life and I didn't want to hear about the gross stuff he did to people in order to know that he was messed up. There were some ...more
Susan
Oct 05, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Waterborne is a terrific depression era tale that follows three lost souls whose lives intersect in Nevada at the construction site of the Hoover Dam. This is Murkoff's debut novel and it's a triumph. I was awed by the raw energy of his writing and his ability to totally transport the reader to another time and place. Waterborne has been called "one of the most under-read great novels of the past decade" I hope that will change.
Deb W
Sep 27, 2013 Deb W rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: left-unfinished
Mostly talented author with distinct weakness in transitions from one character's perspective to another. (I hate having to re-read sections because I was thinking I was reading about one character only to later discover it's another character.)

He also tends to fill pages with information that does little for the character's identity or plot advancement.
Lesley
Jul 29, 2012 Lesley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous writing and character development and some very interesting discriptions of the period (mid-depression) and construction of Boulder (now Hoover) Dam. The ending was a bit far fetched but not enough to take away from 5 stars. A book the discerning reader should enjoy.
Ratforce
Waterborne by Bruce Murkoff has been compared to both Water for Elephants and Snow Falling on Cedars in both writing style and time frame. This is an engrossing and well-written piece of historical fiction, with characters that you will find yourself rooting for
Sundry
Just didn't grab me, even though I love working class fiction, and the era. Very unlikable protagonist. Which is sometimes okay, but didn't work for me here. Probably just a personal thing.
Julie
Jun 16, 2012 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was ok. Lots of characters to keep track of (in the present and as they recall past events)until they come together over 1/2 way through the book. I didn't like the ending.
Kyle
Jun 04, 2010 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable book, with very well developed characters, in which the author draws you into their lives, hopes, problems, and dreams. Ending is very good.
Catherine Lera
Jul 30, 2008 Catherine Lera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed the book. It took you place and time before the hoover dam existed. I really liked the characters.
Carly Thompson
couldn't get into this. I didn't care for the author's prose style (sort of Steinbeck like without being interesting)
Matthew
Jul 06, 2010 Matthew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mostly read - overwritten and WAY too much backstory!
Marty D
Oct 27, 2013 Marty D rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't catch me at the beginning.
Fran Rupley
Fran Rupley rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2016
Chris Stiger
Chris Stiger rated it did not like it
Dec 17, 2015
Dan
Dan marked it as to-read
Nov 13, 2015
Kristi
Kristi rated it really liked it
Nov 01, 2015
Brian van Nostrand
Brian van Nostrand rated it really liked it
Oct 24, 2015
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Oct 07, 2015
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leobunny
leobunny marked it as to-read
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Betty
Betty rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2015
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May 26, 2015
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