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The Town That Drowned

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  602 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Living with a weird brother in a small town can be tough enough. Having a spectacular fall through the ice at a skating party and nearly drowning are grounds for embarrassment. But having a vision and narrating it to the assembled crowd solidifies your status as an outcast. What Ruby Carson saw during that fateful day was her entire town -- buildings and people -- floating ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Goose Lane Editions
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**I won this book from Goodreads as a First Reads free giveaway**

I loved this book!
Author Riel Nason has a calm, gentle way of telling a story. It reminds me of how on the television show "The Waltons" John Boy the author (as narrator) reflects on the story he is writing of his family's past. Main character teenage Ruby Carson is the voice of this story which is set in the mid 1960's in small town Haventon, New Brunswick. From her point of view, she tells the story of her town's demise. There a
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
In all our years together, my book club has never been joined by the author of our chosen book. This month, as we met to discuss The Town That Drowned, we were fortunate to have the novel's author, Riel Nason, with us. Riel and one of the members of my book club have known each other since university, so it made sense for Chrissy to choose this book and to invite Riel to join us while we discussed it.

The Town That Drowned is Riel's first novel, but she has honed her skills writing a regular colu
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recently finished reading The Town that Drowned, by Riel Nason, a Red Maple selection for 2013.Through the eyes of a 15 year old girl, Ruby Carson, Nason tells a story set in her own childhood home, New Brunswick and put it together with much effort, however, I thought it was still lacking in some of the trademark qualities of an exceptional book.

The Town that drowned is about [a 15 year old girl] Ruby Carson, in the mid 1960's, in a small town in New Brunswick, and her struggles through hard
Gerard Collins
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I read Riel Nason’s novel The Town That Drowned, I’ve wanted to grab people by some vulnerable part of their anatomy and say, “Read this. You’re welcome.”

With its wise, strong and vulnerable child narrator, this novel reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird, especially with its—at varying times—microscopic, telescopic, and panoramic take on a rural community in the 1960s after government orders the flooding of an entire town. Resettlement is a subject I can relate to, but I also feel comp
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It starts off a bit odd and I wasn’t sure what to expect but in the end I loved it. It’s Canadian historical fiction with a tiny touch of the paranormal.

“Set in the 1960s, The Town That Drowned deftly evokes the awkwardness of childhood, the thrill of first love, and the importance of having a place, any place, to call home”.

The struggles of the town as a whole are beautifully reflected in Ruby’s story. The heart of the novel is Ruby’s relationship with her little brother, who appears to be in
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This was an extremely interesting book which I connected with immediately. I lived in the Mactaquac Dam floodplain a few miles down river from the setting of this book and my childhood community is no more. The writer very accurately captured many of the same feelings and emotions that those of us who lived in that era experienced. It was truly a walk down memory lane. I remember vividly the sadness that I felt the day I came home from school and the trees that I grew up with surrounding my chil ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
I liked this a lot. Not as wowed as I thought I would be, but a thoroughly enjoyable read that taught me about a piece of Canadian history as well. I particularly liked the character of Percy, and his relationship with his sister, Ruby. Looking at the characters through the lens of my disability awareness I thought they were well drawn, and the fact that the book was set in the 1960s meant that no labels were put on this little boy -- simultaneously a blessing and a curse, in my experience. I fo ...more
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book (it did help that I read it in New Brunswick, sitting by the river). The characters are wonderfully developed without being predictable - the protagonist was believable, likeable and charming, and her Autistic brother was a complete person and not merely a plot device. The fact that the story is based on reality made it all the more poignant, although the author refrained completely from dipping into sentimentality. Instead she produced a beautiful, touching and spel ...more
Wendy J. Whittingham
Great story that was hard to put down.
Riel Nason's fictional main character, 14 yr old Ruby struggles with the responsibility of a handicapped brother, the throes of adolescence and the fear that her town will end up under water.
Set in the 1960's and based on a true story, THE TOWN THAT DROWNED is a believable tale of a young girl's life in Eastern Canada.
A very enjoyable read!
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not quite what I was expecting, but quite fabulous. Had a feel of a modern day 'To kill a mocking bird'. Simple story, but real and rich characters with moments of real suspense. Thoroughly recommend this one.
Steven Buechler
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great edition to the #canlit, coming of age canon of novels. It should be on the reading list of every high school student.
A nice feel good story that is well written and crafted.
Narrated by 14 year old Ruby over two years in the mid sixties. Ruby's younger brother Percy cannot abide change, is focused on structure, numbers and facts and is a cause of much childhood ribbing. Ruby also becomes a social outcasts after she has an accident and has a premonition of a future disaster.
Ruby is mature above her years. But I just couldn't get her stoicism in the face of constant bullying, the lack of sexual awakening in her e
John Hanson
This is a feel-good summer read. It's a coming of age story of a young woman whose life is interrupted by both her best friend moving away and her home town being flooded by a new dam.

It's a story of rather typical life in rural New Brunswick along the Saint John river. The characters and conflict are believable and personal, and we are carried along in a bucolic setting and style of prose. It has a nice balance of dreaminess and tension.

The voice feels perfect. It's simple prose: I did, she sai
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

The Town that Drowned is a gentle story by debut Canadian author Riel Nason which was recently recognized by several major national literary prizes.

It's the mid sixties and the narrator is fourteen year old Ruby Carson who lives in a small rural town named Haverton on the banks of the St John River which wends it's way through New Brunswick, Canada. Ruby's best friend has moved away over the summer and she is dreading the return to school. Already a target of derision by her peers because of her
Lucy Leblanc
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riel Nason's debut novel is a true maritime gem. It is the coming of age story of Ruby Carson, a young girl struggling to find her identity and to fit in at school in a small rural town along the Saint John River in New Brunswick, Canada. Ruby has always been different than the other girls and is an easy target for her classmates to pick on and tease. To make matters worse, she falls through the ice during a community event and has a vision of her town being covered in water. In the vision she s ...more
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release copy of this book from Allen and Unwin in Australia, this is the review I provided to them ...

This is a hauntingly beautiful novel that captured me from its first pages and kept me reading to its end in one sitting.

This is a coming of age novel written from the perspective of self-described outsider, Ruby, who ages from 14 to 16, as the small village of 'Haventon', learns, and responds, to the news that it is to be moved to make way for that, very 196
I was recommended this book due my love of YA lit, but this book was so much more than that. This book took a huge idea, the flooding and demise of a small town, and grounded it in small, quiet, well-written characters. Ruby Carson's small town is being flooded due to the creation of a nearby dam. The idea of flood waters and fresh starts is not a new one, but Nason is able to navigate all the literary metaphor and biblical significance with ease. Through Ruby, we meet her high-functioning, auti ...more
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was right where it should be, the writing and story well-matched to give a young girl's account of human nature's resistance to change. Though rooted as a coming of age story, the fascination comes from her village's preparation and resistance to the coming of change that is inevitable as technology and government planning aim to wipe her village from the map. And the memories, routine, everything you feel to depend on right along with it. As it turns out, the most equipped to deal wit ...more
Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ruby Carson is dealing with a lot. She tries to protect her autistic brother from teasing, her best friend has moved away, she's bullied at school for being weird, and she's fallen in love with a boy from out of town. While at a neighbourhood skating event, she falls and hits her head and has a vision that the town and some of her neighbours are underwater. When the government makes an announcement the townspeople will be relocated and the town flooded to make way for a dam, she begins to secret ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Town That Drowned” by Riel Nason is a work of fiction by a New Brunswick author about a town allowed to be flooded when the Mactaquac dam was built in the 1960s. I love reading Canadian fiction, especially when the story takes place in an area I know and love, the Saint John River Valley! Reading names and locations from “home” makes this book are the more special. It also helps that the story is unique, well written and has characters that are compelling and complicated. The author keeps y ...more
Must read. Had heard some buzz about this book and got our local library (Central Oregon, U.S.A.) to order it. Now I'll have to buy my own copy. The New Brunswick (Canada) government seizes land to build a dam and hydro-electric project. What happens to the town that will eventually be flooded and the people who live there is told through the eyes of Ruby who is 14 when the story starts. The writing is funny, sweet and, at times poignant.
Dec 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this book was eccentric and heartwarming. The main character in this book, Ruby, was a very well-developed chracter. I think that ruby would be really good friend because of the way she stands up for her little brother, Percy. I would recommend this book to any reader who likes the heartwarming tale about siblings, first loves, and how awkward it is to be an outcast.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has never made me feel so proud and so ashamed of the New Brunswick way. The story and the character are strong and moving as we follow a town for two years are their world is changed in many different ways. What made this story especially great for me is that it is a fictionalised tale of a local event that is both sad and uplifting. RECOMMEND HIGHLY!!!
Rachel Seigel
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet and nostalgic coming-of-age story set in New Brunswick between 1964-1967. This may not resonate particularly well with children, but adult readers will enjoy the quality of the writing and an engaging look at a true episode from New Brunswick's history.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge
Excellent. It was hard to put down. I felt that I was right there worrying about my home in the town. Also reminded me of summers in NB.
Kate Merlin
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's published as an adult book but it is also very good for High school Can LIt students.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully assured first novel. Loved the fragility and strength of the various characters.
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this story. The characters are so interesting, I'm sad that I won't see how they make out at the end of the story. I loved the local references, and I could just feel like I was there. A quick read and a great escape.
❀ Susan G
A sweet coming of age story inspired by the government-planned flooding of a NB town which actually took place in the late 1960s. More fulsome review pending.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will start by confessing to a predisposition towards loving anything written by a 'local author.' There's just something comfortable about imagining the story occurring in familiar places - that 'something' that allows the reader to put him/herself into the story, as though we're standing on the sidelines, perhaps just on the other side of the bridge, observing the events. So yes, I was already leaning towards liking this book. I felt it necessary to confess to that so that I could then assure ...more
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Riel Nason's debut novel The Town That Drowned won the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize for Canada and Europe, the 2012 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award and the 2013 Frye Academy Award. It was a national bestseller and was also shortlisted for several other prizes as well as being longlisted for the 2013 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Her second novel, All The Things We Leave Behi
More about Riel Nason...

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