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3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  17 reviews
When Filius Poe sets out for Boulder City, the country is in the grips of the Great Depression, the Hoover administration in its final days. Filius, a young engineer from Wisconsin with a number of dams under his belt, has secured a job helping to tame the mighty Colorado and hopes the sheer scale of the era's greatest engineering feat will distract him from recent, devast ...more
Kindle Edition, 418 pages
Published (first published 2004)
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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
Jonathan Briggs
"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
Ron Charles
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
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
Lisa Ramey
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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)
Mostly read - overwritten and WAY too much backstory!
Marty D
Didn't catch me at the beginning.
Karen Michele
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