Alesa's Reviews > After River

After River by Donna Milner
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Nov 02, 11


I stumbled upon this book while searching for a novel about Vietnam (in preparation for a trip to Vietnam). I was hoping for something about the culture and history of Vietnam, rather than about the war. The book, however, was really well worth reading. An American draft dodger arrives in rural British Columbia in the 1960s to work as a dairy hand. The whole community is against conscientious objectors. Nevertheless, the American quickly becomes like part of the family, creating enormous drama.

This is a very tightly woven story, very well-plotted with some good surprises. I enjoyed reading all the cultural descriptions of my youth. The author had to have lived this herself in order to have done such a great job with the details. Her characters ring very true, and have many layers of depth to them. She does a great job talking about big life challenges like death, betrayal, and forgiveness. Once I got into the characters, I was totally hooked.

Oh -- also, it was fun reading about life in the Cascade mountain foothills, before farms were totally mechanized, and about the wonderfully unique Pacific Northwest culture -- north of the border, that is.
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