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The Waters of Kronos

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  145 ratings  ·  22 reviews
From the time of its first publication in 1960, Conrad Richter's The Waters of Kronos sparked lively debate about the extent to which its story of a belated return to childhood scenes mirrored key events of Richter's own life. As was well known at the time, Richter had spent several years in the Southwest, where he collected the material for his first successful book, Earl ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 8th 2003 by Penn State University Press (first published 1960)
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Conrad Richter was a well respected mid-century writer whose series about a midwestern pioneer family, The Trees (1940), The Fields (1946), and The Town (1950), were his most popular books. I read The Town because it won a Pulitzer Prize in 1951 and enjoyed it for the good story telling and the history of the midwest.

The Waters of Kronos is a whole different type of novel. I would say it was experimental for its time though not as far out there as his contemporaries Wright Morris or John Barth.

This book truly intrigued me. My family homestead, was located near a small country town that was flooded for the creation of a dam. I was a child of about eight, when we visited the vacant town, just prior to flooding. It was utterly spooky. All of the buildings, back then, were wooden, and very old (early 1900's, or even earlier). You could see the church and it's spire, the dirt streets, the hitching posts and parking lots for those who had cars, which were few back then. You could see the ge ...more
Dennis Anthony
Beautifully written, slow, rich with detail. This is a kind of time travel, kind of fictional memoir written by a man near the end of his life trying to wrap his arms around what was. An old man seeks to return to the womb. What he finds -- what we find -- is not what either of us expected. Touching, gorgeous and real, this award-winning short novel ultimately left me unsatisfied. Like eating a rich chocolate sundae, waiting until the last minute to eat the cherry, then discovering it's actually ...more
Albert Kendrick

My experience with Conrad Richter, as with a lot of folks, began with Richter's Awakening Land series. I absolutely fell in love with The Trees. I enjoyed and was similarly impressed with the other two books in the series, The Fields and The Town. The Waters of Kronos, my latest Richter novel, was a completely different experience. The one similarity was a mystical feel in both The Trees and The Waters of Kronos, but that mystical quality was a minor aspect of The Trees while it was centr
This is not a review. I read about a third of the book before I couldn't get further. The story is very interesting although a but strange. My major hang up was that he wrote about very familiar towns in my state but the geography was completely wrong! If you are going to write about real towns you shouldn't change the geography of that town. I couldn't get past the messed up scenery.
This is a 3 1/2 star book. It's the story of an old man who visits his home town that was flooded to make a dam and is transported to a time when he was a young kid interacting with his long dead family who don't recognize him. It's the story of end of life and thinking about the past, rectifying the things you know and remember. Richter is an excellent novelist and this book is a very fast read.
Not quite sure what to say about this one. The writing was technically excellent - beautiful and vividly described, but something was just a bit off, and the overall experience for me was unsatisfying.

At some point I will try to read more from this author - perhaps the trilogy that concludes with The Town.
Jim Jaqcobs
An author with a soul, one who writes with deep emotion and awareness of the human condition. David McCullough mentioned Richter in a NY Times book review article. I knew nothing of this author before noting McCullough's comment.

I will read all I can of Richter. He reaches deep into his and the reader's soul.

Though Richter won the National Book Award for this book, it failed to capture my fancy. Late in his life, John Donner, the protagonist, tries to return to the town where he grew up but discovers that it is now underwater as a hydro-electric dam has been created. Though the public is kept from entering the area, he manages to con his way in and the book - in entirety - is an account - as it were actually happening - of the people and places he knew much earlier in his life. It's written as if he ...more
Water of Kronos by Conrad Richter was an interesting book. It is about a man called John Doner who returned to his home town only to find that it was sunk into the water of the lake formed by building a hydroelectric dam. He starts to reflect back his memories and recall his life with his family.

What I noticed through reading this book is its uniqueness. In this book, nothing actually happens. The protagonist reflects back and tries to figure out how his life with family was like. The feeling of
I guess I just wasn't in the mood for this book. I thought it was very boring.
A fairly autobiographical story of Conrad Richter and his personal realizations about himself as a child and the relationships he had with his family. He admits that he couldn't get away fast enough from his father and his childhood home and all that it stood for. Later in life he travels home almost on autopilot where he comes to the realization that what he feared and loathed most about his father was that exact thing he himself was. he reminisces and is allowed to see, small, and feel all tha ...more
This book is a discard from a library - published in 1960, the edition was not available in the Goodreads list. It had a small school picture of a young girl (b&w) in it that had probably been there for decades. But it is just a neglected book by a wonderful author. The main character makes a visit to his hometown which now actually lies at the bottom of a manmade lake. The reader must decide how to interpret this book. At my age, it tugged at my heartstrings as I identified with the charact ...more
It was ok, the ending was poor.
A big bite of reality.
Adrienne Kern McClintock
After reading "A Light in the Forest" repeatedly as a kid, I was surprised to find another book by the same author, and bought it on sight, not having a clue what to expect. At first, it read like an old man in a dream, but it soon became very much like a classic Twilight Zone episode. I absolutely loved it and never would have expected it from the same writer! If I ever see another book of his, I will buy it on sight, and hope for another delight!
Morgan Plant
I read of Conrad Richter in David McCullough's Brave Companions and went to the bookstore and got the Waters of Kronos and Sea of Grass. Richter grew up in Pine Grove, PA and was a well-acclaimed writer in the 50s and 60s. The Waters of Kronos is a novel that is a memoir o sorts about a community which was flooded to make way for the DeHart Dam. It is wonderfully written, thoughtful and brings great focus to family and community. Also very short.
"If the young could only know," he apologized for his uncertainty. "But then they wouldn't be young anymore"
Picked this up as part of my quest to read award winners. This won the National Book Award in 1961. I'd never heard of it or of Richter before. Quite a good book, though. Kind of a time travel (or is it a dream?) story about an older man trying to figure out his life. Makes me want to read more by Richter.
1961 National Book Award. This is an odd, dreamy sort of book about an old man who finds that he has traveled back in time to his childhood town. It's an unusual choice among NBA winners, which thus far have tended to be gritty or funny realism.
Steven Eisenberg
It may be nasty that I didn't give his National Book Award winner 5 stars, but nothing could be as good as the Awakening Land series.
Kae Cheatham
Exquisite language and sense of place. A man searching for home comforts as he approaches death.
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Conrad Michael Richter (October 13, 1890 – October 30, 1968) was an American novelist whose lyrical work is concerned largely with life on the American frontier in various periods. His novel The Town (1950), the last story of his trilogy The Awakening Land about the Ohio frontier, won the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.[1] His novel The Waters of Kronos won the 1961 National Book Award for Fictio ...more
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