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3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,596 Ratings  ·  361 Reviews
It had been raining for weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn't rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and sunshine glistened across the drenched land.

Following years of catastrophic hurricanes, the Gulf Coast--stretching from the Florida panhandle to the western Louisiana b
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Simon & Schuster
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Apr 05, 2017 PirateSteve rated it really liked it
Shelves: southern
"As I went down to the rivers to pray
Studying about them good old days
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way!"

"O fathers, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O fathers, let's go down
Down to the rivers to pray."

What if Rivers not there.
Taken away like everything else that mattered to you.
Your memories remain... mostly sweet, good.
Memories and your flooded homeland.....
with the promise of more rain and hurricanes.

Pray anyway, I
....4.5 Stars.. After reading the prequel, IN THE BEGINNING, I knew this would be my kind of read with the fury of catastrophic weather, a nearly abandoned land and a vile preaching predator in the midst.

....RIVERS is a story of survival. Warning after warning of a destructive band of hurricanes on the way and repeated offers to purchase his property, Cohen refuses to leave his Mississippi home. Even after a close encounter with death, instead of escape, he seeks revenge unaware of the evil he i

Sep 11, 2013 Elyse rated it it was amazing
Yikes almighty frickin hell...It's been a long time since I've read a pulse-pounding novel.
"It had been raining for weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it had rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and the sunshine glistened across the drenched land."

The catastrophe from the hurricanes stretching from the Florida Panhandle to the Louisiana border was so depleted the government drew a new boundary 90 mil
Mar 14, 2017 Karen rated it it was amazing
This was the first novel by Michael Farris Smith, and I love this man's writing!
I felt like I was right in the middle of the Gulf Coast, where the rain and storms never stopped, causing the government to draw a line where people who live below the line get no help, it's a no man's land, people who stay have to fend for themselves.

Cohen, who is grieving the loss of his wife and unborn child, chooses to stay and this is the story of what he faces, and what a journey it is! Very intense and addic
4.5 Stars

There must be some kind of way outta here
Said the joker to the thief
There's too much confusion
I can't get no relief

All Along the Watchtower - Bob Dylan

”It had been raining for weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn’t rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and the sunshine glistened across the drenched land.”

Cohen looked around, his dog beside him, staring at the lumber that sat soaked
Diane S ☔
Apr 13, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
We have finally damaged the earth so much that the coastal regions are being struck by unending storms and hurricanes, even the Mississippi valley has become a permanent flood zone. A line is drawn, the line delineating where services and protection will be offered, all other area and people who choose to stay in them are on there on. Of course man kind being what it is, these areas become a violent no man's land.

The tone is similar in nature to "The Road" but this is much more expansive than t
Feb 10, 2017 Annet rated it really liked it
Well... what a story. Rather grim and dark, literally. Dystopian is one of the categories that interest me. Who says this can't happen, weather changing, relentless rain and water taking the feels sort of realistic in a way. I live in The Netherlands, the low lands, below sea level, we have to protect our country against the rising waters.... So, we know the dangers of water. Rivers is a quick read.
Between 3 and 4 stars for me but rather towards 4 so that it is. The Road by Cormac Mc
Jan 16, 2015 LeAnne rated it it was amazing
OMG-good! Call me nuts, but I've read this novel twice in less than a year, just finished a second book club discussion on it, and participated in two author Q&As with Mississippi writer Michael Farris Smith. Seriously, the book is that good.

I confess that the publisher's blurb didn't grab me when I saw it last year, but - boy. SO WRONG! The book is set in the near-future on the Gulf Coast where the prime enemy is weather. The constant storms slamming southern Mississippi, plus the federal g
Cathrine ☯️
Apr 16, 2017 Cathrine ☯️ rated it really liked it
I was so impressed with the writing in Desperation Road that I rushed to read this and its precursor In the beginning: A short story prequel to the novel Rivers without any story or review prep.
Post-Apocalypse is not my reading preference as I feel it's too oppressive, wreaking devastation page after page, with not much hope or satisfaction on the horizon because that’s the issue with any sort of apocalypse right?
Nonetheless it was quite compelling, timely, and believable. Years of catastro
Feb 02, 2017 Katie rated it it was ok
Gets my vote for the worst ever depiction of Venice I’ve come across in literature. I wasn’t sure what Venice was even doing in this book. But I had the feeling the author had never been there.

Rivers has been compared to The Road but I’m afraid I found none of the artistry of Cormac McCarthy’s book here. Bit like comparing Jaws 3 with the original. Lots of generic characters (the lead character is sensitive, he’s generously attentive to women and animals but he can also be relied upon to win an
May 13, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing

Michael Farris Smith has created in Rivers a world that might exist if the hurricanes beating the Southern USA were unrelenting and followed one upon the other until the population had to be evacuated and the area deserted. Some people would stay, some always do. Smith's main character, Cohen is one of those who stays. He is unable to part himself from the memories of his wife and unborn child who have died and are buried behind his home.

I must say I loved this book. It felt like a ri
Sep 08, 2014 Zoeytron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Bleak skies where the sun is destined never to shine again. Torrential rain, cold and pounding and relentless. Kudzu creeping and growing, its tendrils evolving into thick, twisted arms smothering everything in its path. Buildings are sinking into the very ground. The horror of never being warm and dry is chilling.

The lower portion of the country has been condemned, with most people evacuated by the government, the ones who refuse to leave their homes are left to their own devices. A line is dr
Tom Mathews
Insurance companies refer to storm damage as an act of God, yet I doubt that anyone would see any touch of the divine in the climatic cataclysm that has befallen the Gulf Coast in Michael Farris Smith’s debut novel. In a world where Hurricane Katrina was just the beginning,
It has been 613 days since the declaration of the Line, a geographical boundary line drawn ninety miles north of the coastline from the Texas-Louisiana border across the Mississippi coast to Alabama. A geographical boundary
The rain was relentless. For years the winds roared, lightening cracked, vines whipped over toppled trees, water flooded abandoned buildings, and skinny animals roamed the post-Katrina Gulf Coast. The government had transported people to areas north of "The Line" in evacuation buses, but a few survivalists and treasure hunters had remained. It was a lawless world where Cohen stayed in Mississippi, unable to leave his home full of memories of his beloved wife and unborn child who had both died. C ...more
James Thane
Apr 26, 2014 James Thane rated it really liked it
This is a post-apocalyptic tale that will remind many readers of Cormac McCarthy's book, The Road. It's set in a not too far-distant future when, presumably because of climate change, the Gulf Coast from Florida across to Texas has become a soggy, desolate area of constant rain and storms where the sun never shines. Katrina-like hurricanes have repeatedly devastated the region to the point where rebuilding no longer makes any sense.

Neither does living there, and so the government has drawn a lin
Oct 27, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
3.99 Kindle Special 10/27/16
Oh my, what a fantastic, intense read! This is definitely a favorite for 2016. I felt a connection with the setting because we were stationed in Gulfport, MS and lived in Biloxi when my husband was in the Navy. I'm very familiar with the area.

"It was as if they were being returned to the earth, driven into the ground by the force of the storm, their stiff bodies less skin and bone and more mud and root with each passing moment."

Katrina was only the beginning and years
Diane Barnes
Mar 20, 2016 Diane Barnes rated it it was amazing
Holy God, what a book! I was of two minds the whole time I was reading, sick of the storms and the wet and the hunger and
the violence that was inherent in life below "the line", but needing to get back to it whenever I had to put the book down. I won't rehash the plot outline, as the book description gives you the gist of the story, but there is enough action in this one to satisfy anyone. Some people have classified this as a post-apocalyptic novel, but it was not difficult at all for me to se
Apr 12, 2013 Lou rated it it was amazing
Out Today!
Read My Interview with this great new voice

One word placed carefully after the other with heartfelt necessity, sentences that keep you reading and fully immerse you into the scene with eery realistic imagery, you feel the desolation, the solitude, the love, and the loss.
This author has a potent and poetic prose, repeating and orchestrating a fine symphony, a cadence of reflections on world gone topsy turvy and the lost, all th
Apr 22, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
Great book with excellent character development. Lots of action and NONE of it predictable! Very entertaining. Some very intense moments.
Feb 28, 2017 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOOWWWWW! What an addiction this book was. I couldn't wait to get back to it. Crazy story!
Aug 05, 2013 Kendall rated it it was amazing
First the disclaimer: Michael Farris Smith is my colleague in creative writing at Mississippi University for Women. Of course, I'm going to like his book! However, even I was surprised by it. Not that I would expect anything less than a good read, but Rivers is much more than a good read. Michael's prose is a delight. His characters are fresh and at times haunting. He weaves back and forth in time to show us a dystopian future that is all too real juxtaposed with a much more normal and at times ...more
W Perry
May 15, 2016 W Perry marked it as maybe
Briefly Experiencing a Real World DYSTOPIA

Thanks to my friends' stellar reviews, I've started reading this book. The book's description triggers flashbacks to experiencing Dystopia* once in 4D real life. I realize how lucky I am not to have lived in that dire world between Waveland, MS and New Orleans, LA in early Sept 2005, a few days after Hurricane Katrina. Waveland especially.

I was part of a charitable foundation who was delivering food, a fire truck and a cop car to this little town a fe
Kirk Smith
Mar 12, 2016 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it
More nerve-racking than Walking Dead, even greater risk of fatal consequence from EXTREMES of Nature run amok. Great story it will read fast because it can't be put down! 4 point 5
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
2.5 stars

This book probably deserves 3 stars for the quality of the writing, but I found it so bleak and depressing, I rounded down to 2 stars. I could read it only in small doses, and my reaction to the plot and characters wasn't so much sadness as frustration.

This novel has been compared to McCarthy's The Road, a fairly apt comparison. The writing style, particularly, is resonant of McCarthy: all introspection and imagery.

Set in the Gulf area of the United States, Rivers paints a postapocaly
Jordan Anderson
Dec 16, 2013 Jordan Anderson rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge sucker for post apocalyptic stories. Where I got this desire from, I don't know, but the thought of life, teetering on the edge of oblivion, with only the most resourceful and hard-core survivors left, has always appealed to me. I suppose that makes perfect sense as to why I immediately fell in love with "Rivers".

I get that it's not a true "PA" novel, so don't harass me about that, but "Rivers" is a bleak and brutal story about survival and to what ends people will go to continue to l
A Riveting Near Future Dystopian Debut Novel

Michael Farris Smith writes like William Faulkner, with more than a nod to Cormac McCarthy and J. G. Ballard, in his debut novel “Rivers”, chronicling one man’s heroic efforts in returning to civilization in the wake of a near future climatological disaster which has rendered much of the coastline of the southern United States flooded or otherwise uninhabitable, a veritable “no man’s land” in which barbarism is the status quo. Cohen refuses to leave th
Aug 27, 2015 Tina rated it it was amazing
My rare 5 star "it is worthy of being a classic rating" goes to Michael Farris Smith for Rivers. Don't miss this book if you like dystopian or post-apocalypse reads because this one feels very real.

I freely admit to being a big fan of dystopian and post-apocalypse books, but let's face it, most of these books are really far-fetched. They are somewhat fantastical and sometimes a bit science fiction too. I enjoy the escape from reality that they give me immensely and that is why I read them.

Jenny (Reading Envy)
In a near-future apocalyptic Mississippi, hurricanes and flooding are so frequent (nearly constant) that the government has redrawn the southern border of the country above the disaster zone. Anyone living south of The Line has no government assistance, no security, and must fend for him or herself. This setting is one of the most realistic apocalyptic worlds I have read. I'm intentionally not using the word "post" because throughout the novel, destruction continues. People are trying to survive ...more
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

Roads are washed out, along with buildings, bridges, food and just about every other necessity needed to survive. Mississippi, along with the rest of the Gulf Coast, is a waterlogged mess and it’s been raining for so long that it’s hard for Cohen to remember life before the rain, but he does remember some things, like the beauty of his dead wife and how much he wanted the child that was growing inside her before they were
Mississippi Library Commission
Loved every single bit of this book. Smith is simply an amazing writer. Can't wait to read his "The Hands of Strangers" when it's rereleased over at Simon & Schuster on Kindle, Nook, and iTunes a week from today.
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Michael Farris Smith is the award-winning author of several novels, including Desperation Road, (Amazon Best Books, Barnes & Noble Discover, Indie Next selection), Rivers (for which he received the 2014 Mississippi Author Award for Fiction), and The Hands of Strangers. He has been awarded the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, the Transatlantic Review Award for Fiction, and ...more
More about Michael Farris Smith...

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“Tomorrow you and them will set out for the end of your lives and I’ll be here. The one who gave and would keep on giving if you’d let me. But you don’t want to let me. You and them are going to walk through the valley but you’ll have no shepherd. You’ll have no answers. And you’ll kill the babies. And you’ll die. You ain’t no healer, no more than I am, but I can give more than you.” 4 likes
“AGGIE SMOKED AND GAZED ACROSS the flooding. He had never been anything but grateful for the calamity of the storms and the subsequent drawing of the Line, this perfect godforsaken land where a man like him could create his own world, with his own people, with his own rules. The rage of God Almighty. The fractured and forgotten order. In his most selfish moments, he believed that this had all somehow come about explicitly for him. In” 4 likes
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