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Between Two Rivers

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  225 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Within the walls of
Echo Terrace, the world ...

A beautifully resonant novel with a dazzling array of characters whose life stories are woven together into a breathtaking braid of love and memory.

Farro Fescu is the proud and observant concierge of Echo Terrace, a condominium in New York City. Passing through his lobby at all hours of the night and day is an exotic
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Harper (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  225 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I've had this book unread on my shelves since 2006 when I bought it in paperback, but came back to it recently when I was reminded of it in a Pete Hamill interview I read at the back of his Downtown memoir.

Set primarily within the walls of Echo Terrace, a residential building close to World Trade Plaza in Downtown Manhattan, Between Two Rivers details episodes in the lives of several of its residents and employees, sometimes interweaving their narratives. With NYC being such a varied city
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
I enjoyed the pacing of this look into the lives of a group of everyday New Yorkers. Maybe not your typical New Yorkers but some interesting folks, nonetheless. Fair warning, I enjoy slow, meandering characterizations, so this was right up my alley. When I told a friend of mine that I was enjoying it, she said that she thinks I may be a bit of a voyeur. There could be some truth to that.

If you are looking for a fast, thrilling, uproarious page turner, this isn't it. But it is a decent look into
Sam Potter
Nov 25, 2018 rated it liked it
An entertaining and different kind of a novel. I enjoyed what was basically a bunch of interconnected short stories that are all drawn together as a common narrative at the end.

What I didn't care for was that the stories all seemed to involve unhappy relationships. Nearly every character was unfaithful, raped or had an unwanted relationship forced upon them in some way. Some characters were pretty frustrating, like the man who has an ex-wife and a son living in Seattle while he works and lives
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the finish. A very slow read. The first third? Difficult - because it appears and reads as disjointed observations. The second third? Begins to pull out the characters a little more and become more cohesively interesting.
And finally...a cohesive narrative, a link between the characters emerges. The grand and expensive Manhattan building in which they live dictates wealth and/or age brings the residents to that time and place. The Recorder and observer is privileged through
Kevin Kern
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book about an owner condo tower, very near the World Trade Center, that takes place mostly in 1993, but ends in 2001. It is filled with vastly quirky characters, from all around the world. I am obsessed with stories about 9/11 and I first read this novel years ago. It touched my heart then and it did again. If you like character driven novels, that are more difficult reads, this book is for you. It captures life in New York City amazingly well and the 9/11 part is very short, so the ...more
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lettie Cox
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This could have been a very good book if the author had just stuck to fewer characters. The ending left a lot of loose ends.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
Uneven. But when it was good, it was very good.
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I started this book, the conceit - that of a condominium building in New York City, described by the concierge and through the individual residents' stories - made me think it might be too "cute" for my taste. But as I got into the book, things started to fall into place - the building as microcosm for the world, the connectivity and the quirkiness of the individual residents (which at first me made think that so many eccentric people couldn't possible live in one place, but then of course ...more
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
This novel took an absorbent amount of patience for me; I could only read twenty or so pages at a time because Rinaldi’s narrative is incredibly dense. He’s heavy handed with the imagery and descriptions, which are at times beautifully poignant and at others bog down the narrative, rather than interactions between people. The characters are entwined through Echo Terrace rather than a single character except maybe for Farro Fescu, but often times he feels forced into the situation with a nod — a ...more
Oct 08, 2011 rated it it was ok I was, reading along merrily, enjoying the eccentric inhabitants of Echo Terrace when bam! What?! The vignette, The Jamaica Avenue L, starring Yesenia threw me for a loop. I did not enjoy this even a little, and it wasn't so much the content and subject matter, but more how it was all handled. As a female, I was super unhappy with the direction Rinaldi has taken here. I will keep reading this novel, but it has struck a very bad chord with me.

And my final review? So torn. I like the
Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
I can't think of a book I disliked more other than back in high school when we were forced to read terrible literature such as Lord Jim! I am embarassed to say I read it to the end; my only reason being I kept expecting it to get better at some point. It never did!

Rinaldi rambles on ad nauseum about characters who all had issues but it goes essentially nowhere. Now I am not opposed to flawed characters at all, but this was just "write garbage as it flows through your brain". Ultimately you've
Donna Johnson
Oct 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
I rather hated this book, in a way that probably merits a real review. But, in the meantime, the short version:

1) dreadfully long character studies of people who a) are loathsome individuals and b) do not then go on to contribute to the plot.

2) a complete blind-siding of the reader with 9/11/01. The book starts in the 1980's, I did not know, going in, that it was a 9/11 novel, or I would not have chosen it. It should come with a "trigger warning". And when, at long last, after wending through
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Diane by: Library New Book Stacks
Shelves: a-favorite-read
I read this book several years ago when it was first published post 9/11 and rated it one of my top 10 books that year.
Between Two Rivers is an engaging novel about the everyday lives of the residents and staff of an upscale Manhattan Condominium. Rinaldi expertly interweaves the lives of the characters, tracing how their day-to-day lives cross and collide and become dramatically intertwined as they go about their daily business. The concierge Farro Fescu, is the central character, around whom
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!

The characters, all beautifully developed, are all owners living in a NY co-op. Each chapter is usually about one of these very interesting tenants and they each appear in other chapters. The cleaning crew is not omitted, but the main character is the concierge. The time period covers about ten years and you know the book will end with the Twin Towers on 9-11, but knowing this does not detract in any way.

The writing just flows - not overly descriptive but just enough. And the
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'm impressed with how an author can imagine and then write from the point of view of several characters. The pace of the book suited me. I could sense where it was headed, but there was much to ponder along the way.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
There is no originality in style to speak of but the story was quite engaging through the first half of the book, and then it took a speedy dive downward. I found the section about the 9/11 events appallingly presumptuous.
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember picking this book up on a whim at the library and being pleasantly surprised. It's about the interwoven lives of people in an apartment building. I enjoyed it.
Nov 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Not bad, but I think I would have liked it much better if it had been written by a woman.
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
very good slice of everyday life, and there's always something to hope fo
Jun 21, 2011 marked it as to-read
I didn't finish it but would like to return to it. My book club liked it.
Sep 21, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. The interaction between the characters was quite good.
Helen Levy
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Definitely a novel which should be made into a mini-series of sorts!
Jan 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Novel taking place in a high rise near the World Trade Center in NYC. Takes place over a number of years and tracks numerous rich and quirky residents
Jun 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I didn't have any expectations with this book. Pulled it from the library blindly. It was quite interesting...a big morbid in places, but well crafted overall.
Sep 14, 2007 rated it liked it
I chose this book by its cover, and it was pretty good.
Ben Zunkeler
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Amazing imagery of New York and its characters
Jul 18, 2009 rated it liked it
This novel was very well written, but I did not have the patience for it. Only made it about half way through.
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Nicholas Rinaldi is a poet and novelist of three novels. His poems and fiction have won numerous awards, and he was recently honored as the 2007 Artist of the Year by the Fairfield Arts Council. Rinaldi earned a doctorate degree from Fordham University and currently teaches courses in literature and creative writing at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. He currently lives in ...more