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The Lake, the River & the Other Lake

3.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  394 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
The resort town of Weneshkeen, nestled along Michigan's Gold Coast, has become a complex melting pot: townies and old timers mix with ritzy summer folk, migrant cherry pickers, wily river guides, and afew Ojibwe Indians. As the summer blooms, these lives mingle in surprising ways-a lifelong resident and Vietnam Vet pursues the take-no-guff deputy sheriff, while plotting re ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 3rd 2005 by Pantheon Books (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 674)
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Melora
Feb 21, 2010 Melora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember who gave me this book to read (my mom? my sister?), but it was quite disappointing. If there were half-star options, I would give this book 2 1/2 stars, rather than 3.

First of all, the dustcover claims that this book is funny, which is really isn't. In fact, they called it a "comic novel." Not true. They also boast of "richly drawn characters," which actually is pretty funny, considering that one of my main complaints about this novel was the LACK of character development. Perh
...more
Barbara
Nov 14, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, michigan
Really pretty endearing. As a Michigander, I kept trying to figure out which Lake Michigan coastal town was being described. Not that it matters. Amick has the description and characters down, and it is the characters that kept me reading. I especially enjoyed Kimberly Lasco and Janey Struska. There is enough plot, with failure and redemption, to keep you reading to the end. Not all of it is pleasant, but to a Michigander, it rings true. David Letterman is a nice touch, too.
Vali
Mar 20, 2015 Vali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'll admit that I enjoyed this book at the start. It really isn't my flavor of reading but having lived in Detroit for most of my life as well as a northern Michigan resort town called Oscoda for a few years, I'm quite familiar with the culture clash that occurs between townies and "fudgies". I enjoyed the little background stories about the town and I even liked a few characters.

However, the story took a creepy turn with two of the characters in particular. I'm not normally a squeamish man but
...more
Emily
Dec 09, 2008 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this book a five if it weren't for the incident that happened with the minister right at the end. I really liked these characters and felt immersed in their small town life. I also loved the references to so many different aspects of Michigan life. I really wish he would have gone a different route with wrapping up the minister's story. Oh well.
Rebekkila
Apr 11, 2015 Rebekkila rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books, e-read
When I first started reading this I thought it was non-fiction because it is so in line with my experiences vacationing in The Northern lower peninsula. When I was young my grandparents had a cottage on a lake not to far from Alpena Michigan which would be about due West of the fictional town, Weneshkeen. The residents of the town (which I won't name) where the cottage is located can be hostile towards the summer people. In my late 20's I would do all my shopping at home and put perishables in c ...more
Traci
Apr 30, 2009 Traci rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book Club Pick: I'll never look at Iced Coffee the same way again. This book is Lame.
J.
Nov 16, 2008 J. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The copyright page of Steve Amick's first novel The Lake, the River and the Other Lake identifies it as identity (psychology), while Publishers Weekly portrays the contents as a sort of Northern Exposure (the popular TV series of the mid-80s) with quirky characters living a soap opera in Weneshkeen, the fictional name given a small town on Lake Michigan's Gold Coast to perhaps protect the inhabitants from the outside world. As a fan of character-driven fiction I had high hopes for this novel; un ...more
Lisa
Apr 02, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this a 3 1/2 star rating, if that option were available to us here. Better than a 3 but not quite a 4. I think I enjoyed this book so much because I am from the neck of the woods where it takes place and I was so able to picture the people, the areas, the Fudgies and the FIB's & FOB's. I also know what's happened to Northwestern Michigan and I know how insane summertime has become and remember well how it used to be. This story takes place over a summer, somewhere in the Northwe ...more
Armand
3.6 stars really. This is one of those braided story/ ensemble cast novels, in which we follow the lives a bunch of characters in a small town with significant crossover. I liked the beginning and the end, but truthfully some of the characters stories (Mark the 16 year old boy and Reverend Reecher) got a bit episodic in the middle, and frankly I would have liked the ending to be a bit less ambiguous; I feel like the other left too much unresolved for the characters that I like better. Strong nar ...more
Mark
Aug 26, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished re-reading Empire Falls a couple weeks ago but I didn't post a review (the first time I read it was during my pre-blogstoric era) because, really, what else can I say about my favorite author, Richard Russo? Especially when the novel happened to win the Pulitzer Prize? When I pick up a book by Russo, I know I can expect a well-written small-town story.

Russo specializes in the off-kilter regulars down at the bar, the parents trying to raise the next generation right even though the tow
...more
Ben
Jun 17, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clever, funny book about a small town of oddballs in western Michigan reminiscent of Lake Wobegon... as perhaps reimagined by Garrison Keillor after a night of drinking and recreational drugs. Chicagoans who occasionally vacation up the east coast of the lake, or Michiganders who reluctantly tolerate the tourists, will both appreciate this book.
Jay
Dec 05, 2015 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This novel weaves seemingly separate narratives of people living in a Michigan vacation town, which slowly come together as the plot unfolds.

The book is serious, yet funny. And I still can't get over the antics of Roger Drinkwater.

Drinkwater, who resided in the town long before it became a vacation hotspot, loathes the families that vacation there in the summer. He especially dislikes the jet skis, which interrupt his ritual morning swim.

He rebels against the families through petty vandalism t
...more
Nancy
May 31, 2016 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why only two stars: Because, even though the writing was lively and the characters were well-drawn, the story-line was just a tad too disjointed. I had trouble keeping track of all the numerous characters, even as I understood the point that a single life is intermingled, and impacts, many other lives. The thing that led me to a two star rating though was the lack of closure. One character had closure, so-to-speak, but all the other characters the author spent so much time on--what happened to t ...more
Connie Faull
Mar 16, 2011 Connie Faull rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone from Michigan
This is a quirky little book that takes place in a made-up little town, Weneshkeen, Michigan. The town is named by a Greek guy who jumped overboard after a mutiny on a ship in Lake Michigan (that was trying to sale to China) and lived with the local American Indian tribe for a few weeks. They kept saying "Weneshkeen" to him, so he told everyone later that was the town's name. In fact, Weneshkeen translated was "Who are you?" This is a very character driven book, with plenty of characters. Each c ...more
Alethea Bothwell
He has the small Michigan resort town - the geography and the people - down perfectly. Interesting characters, interesting story-lines - and, since I am living a few miles away, interesting setting.

This was recommended to me by a French friend.
Joyce
Clearly written by someone who knows Michigan's sunset lakeshore in the summer. Charming in many ways although the pastor's sad tale didn't fit with the tenor of the rest of the story. Laughed out loud at the end, though.
Abby
This was on the shelf next to something else I wanted. I picked it up, read the first bit, put it back. Kind of wanted to read it but couldn't remember the title. Rediscovered it, again completely by accident, three years later at a different library in a different state. Mr. Amick, either you are a library hit or they just always face the "A" shelf outward.

In true sociological form, I enjoy books about communities, featuring the various experiences of many people interacting with each other. Mi
...more
Anne
Mar 01, 2013 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lake, the River & the Other Lake: A Novel was an enjoyable novel that I read for my Michigan brews and books book club. We had a rousing discussion about the book, especially certain very memorable scenes involving an old man's newly discovered internet pornography addiction. Too many of the characters aren't well developed enough to make it as good a novel as it might have been, but then writing a humorous novel is no small feat and humor so often relies upon stereotypical characters. N ...more
Mir
Apr 25, 2016 Mir rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrift-store
I'm going to have to side with many other reviewers of this book -- the minister's ending made me feel sick and creepy for even reading it. It went...a little too far. Barf.
I have to admit, I read this book at a pretty good pace which is always nice. I enjoy books that swap character perspectives from chapter to chapter, but I felt as though each of the character's plots kind of fizzled, and the humor was pretty "meh."
Laura
Aug 27, 2010 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked this up in my favorite touristy book store in Frankfurt, Michigan thinking it would depict the vacation area I have grown to love so well. I couldn't even finish it. I didn't enjoy the tone of the book which had a negative outlook on everything and not for the sake of showing a really captivating character's perspective. In fact the characters were so underdeveloped I found it difficult to care about what happened to any of them. I found the plot weak and slow moving and the description ...more
Cindy
Aug 10, 2011 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want a synopsis, Goodreads provides an excellent one for this charmer, so I'll just say I gave this 5 stars. Part of the fun was trying to figure out what town(s) Amick had in mind, since I grew up in West Michigan, but more likely it was a blend of several. This delightful tale, written with a wry sense of humor, involves four or five plots, twists, detours, and a surprise ending. I might even read it again in another ten years or so, and I rarely do that. Figure in ten years I will have ...more
Gwen
Jun 06, 2016 Gwen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More Michigan reading. This one had good characters but not much of a conclusion. Pretty light.
MattA
Apr 03, 2008 MattA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, michigan
I love reading books that have a highly developed sense of place, as this one does. Amick has developed a wonderful setting with some marvelous characters, but in the end I found that it didn't quite deliver on the promise. When I finished the book my first through was, "That's how it ends? How dissappointing."

Still, I have to say that I'm glad I read it, and would probably recommend it to others. I hope that Amick writes a sequel; I think there's still great promise in Weneshkeen.

And I agree th
...more
Rosemary
Dec 31, 2014 Rosemary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good read, disappointing ending
Kim
Jan 16, 2010 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was going to give this book 3 stars and then something so disgusting happened towards the end...I was literally sick to my stomach. Since there were only 25 pages left, I kept reading to get a resolution to the story (although a resolution wasn't really provided for the majority of the characters). If it had happened earlier in the story, I would have just put the book down. I am so glad I did not buy this book and only rented it from the library. If the author's goal was to disgust his reader ...more
Phayvanh
Oct 01, 2007 Phayvanh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beach readers
Shelves: reviews, fiction
What better summer read than a book about the summer of 2001 in a small lake town in Michigan, where townies despise tourists, where neighbors feud, and rumors get started? A captivating, reassuring narrative delivers the quirks and complications of small town life, with its bushel full of characters, each as ripe as a pint of July cherries. As disparate as they seem, these people in the end remind us of ourselves—our ability to overcome the limitations of our pride—and how the human heart wants ...more
Lynne-marie
I'm originally from Michigan, so this tale of the "original" home-grown Michiganders vrs. the new people who come as tourists was mother's milk to me. The comedy of the ill fit is of the broad-brush kind, tapestry, I guess you'd say, although the individual incidents and characters are drawn with clever precision, too. Anyone would find the pranks amusing: a vendetta against water ski-dom, anyone? It's a downright funny book, but to be struck by the belly laugh, I suspect you'd have to be from M ...more
Shelley
Being from Michigan and knowing a town like Weneshkeen, I wanted to like this book, but the further I read, the more disappointed I became. Very few of the characters were likable and most did not develop beyond their introduction. Each fit into a stereotypical mold and developed (or didn't) accordingly. I think the preacher's story-line was completely unneeded and the reason I almost didn't finish the book. I pushed through to the end, but there was nothing to redeem this novel.
Karynn
Jul 30, 2009 Karynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book...especially if you are a Michigander. Lots of eccentric characters. The book stays true to what you would find up north from the scenery to the characters. And the references to us SE Michiganders as "fudgies" is good. However...I was very disappointed in the way the book ties up the story line with the widowed minister. Without giving anything away...it could have had a much better ending to that story line. Good...easy...up north...summer book!!
Shelly
Mar 05, 2012 Shelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just haven't been able to get through it even though I wanted to since it was a gift. A student of mine could not get "into it" either. :( Maybe I'll try again later...2/29/12


My friend Angie gave this to me as a gift, so I had no idea what it was about. Getting into it has been slow, but I am very interested in it because it is about the west side Michigan when Native Americans inhabited the state.
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“To his ear, of course, she suffered some from that malady of her generation- an almost laconic indifference toward speaking concisely- a circling and avoidance of linguistic specificity that bordered on a verbal form of shoulder-shrugging.” 0 likes
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