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Into This River I Drown

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  2,736 ratings  ·  583 reviews
2014 Lambda Literary Award Winner for Best Gay Romance

Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, who drowned when his truck crashed into a river. All called it an accident, but Benji thought it more. However, even years later, he is buried deep in his grief, throwing himself into taking over Big Eddie's convenience store in the small town of Roseland,
ebook, 400 pages
Published March 25th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 24th 2013)
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,736 ratings  ·  583 reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*Price drop to $0.99 at Amazon US, 11/1/18*

This book didn't made me cry, it made me weep.

Was this book sad? Yes, the grief that Benji has over his father's death is overwhelming and perfectly articulated by the author. However, that isn't what made me sob at work while reading this book on my lunch break.

What made me completely break down is the total and complete love that Benji has for his father and vice versa. It is the heartbreaking magnitude of that love that ripped me to shreds. Benji a
Dear T.J. Klune,

I hate you. You’ve completely sabotaged my reading year. Here I am, not even a full month into 2014 and you just ran me over with a literary freight train. I might as well read monster porn until 2015 because I doubt that anything I pick up will replace this as my favorite book of the year.

Damn you,

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Rosa, really
Jun 17, 2013 rated it did not like it

DNF 63%

I know....I know. What the hell?

I just could not deal with Benji's constant depression. I desperately wanted to give him the number of a good psychologist, a large bottle of antidepressants and suggest he take up journaling.

At least I got to use a Big Lebowski gif. The Dude makes everything better.
Trisha Harrington
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of a great emotional book
Okay, this was one of the most emotional reads ever. I'm a girl who loves dark and depressing books, but it has to have a meaning for me. I can't read something that makes no sense. The cover drew me in originally. I thought it was beautiful the first time I saw it. Since then I have been nervous to read it. But as you can see I did read it, and I can tell you hand on heart I loved it!

Benji lost his father when he was 16. He drowned in a river and it was deemed an accident. Benji never believed
* Meli Mel *

♥♥♥ 5+ 'Painfully So Cherry' Stars ♥♥♥

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

'Sometimes I float along the river
For its surface I am bound
And there are times stones done fill my pockets
And it's into this river I drown'

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

I'm going to try to keep this review short because no matter what I say, it will not do this book justice. I was completely blown away by this story. T.J. Klune is an amazing versatile author. I truly believe that
☆ Todd
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

God. Yes. Just, YES.

If I had to make a list of 10 books that you must read, this book would be on that list.

Very enjoyable read. Pretty long, not that I was bored and wanting it to end at all.

The story was really more that of a love story between Benji and his father, Big Eddie. No, get your minds out of the gutter, not that way. The depth of their father and son love, then the loss of that love is guaranteed to fold your heart up like origami and make you sob a time or two. Buy Kleenex.

The bo
I'm truly of two minds about this book.

On the one hand, it was beautiful. The premise, the story in and of itself, the characterizations and most of all, the message it conveys--just gorgeous. The concepts of angels and archangels were fascinating and rather unique. Emotions were written to maximum impact. And in parts, the writing was really, really good, almost poetic; it gripped me, sucked me in and didn't let me go.

On the other hand, for the most part of the book the writing was chatty, lo
Once I heard the white peacock symbolizes the dispersion of souls throughout the world.


The Dalai Lama was once asked what would he do if all his spiritual beliefs were scientifically disproven. He said that if he read all the evidence, all the research, and it was irrefutable, he would have to change.


What would you do if something spiritual disproved your scientific beliefs?

I have just seen that movie, spiritual and scientific thoughts in a cocktail shaker, which led me to similar movies a
I bought Into This River I Drown the summer of 2015, but for some reason I waited until now to actually read it. I've opened it many times to dig in, but something would always make me choose a different book. Maybe it was the length -- it's loooonnng. Maybe it's because I knew that TJ Klune would shred me like no one else does. Maybe I just wasn't ready.

I'm not a religious person, and I mean at all. I never really have been and I doubt I ever will be. And this book deals heavily in religious my
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm, on-my-kindle
Okay I lied I didn't put this down, and read something lighter and fluffier. I finished it while laying on the front porch swing ugly crying. Like I'm glad there was bamboo that shades the porch so no one can see me cry sort of crying. I need to go home cuddle some stuffed animals, or better yet drive to my best friends' house and cuddle their puppies sort of crying.

I need a hug.

I may write a real review someday.


I wouldn't hold your breath.

This took a lot out of me.

It was great, but...

Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, lgbtq, favorites
Last year was rich for me in terms of literary discoveries. I was lucky to read a number of amazing books and to discover some new authors that have quickly become very dear to my heart. Last, in order of time, is the wonderful T.J. Klune. His meditative novel Into This River I Drown - possibly one of the most haunting titles and covers I've ever come across - touched me in some very deep and personal ways and it's a book I won't ever forget.

Benji is twenty-one and still profoundly grieving for

Why do I love books???

I'm taken into other worlds where I can control what goes on, and is often so much better than reality. They make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud; they make me cringe or are downright embarrassing; they let my imagination run riot; they make me really angry and think 'WTF?' or gasp with indignation; sometimes I'm breathless with anticipation and can't wait to find out what happens next; they make me snigger and chuckle, and if I'm especially lucky a little hot and bot
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh, the power of faith! The power of sacrifice and love.

I'm so happy I read this book. It's one of those books that I will always remember. The story is extraordinary. Every single page is a work of art.

This is the story of Benjamin and Calliel. Nothing I say can describe how wonderful these two are, how beautiful their relationship is.

The whole books feels surreal and dream-like. All the characters were unique. There were many things that i didn't see coming and that makes this whole story more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really don't think anything I write can do justice to just how great a book this is. I was so sad when I finished because I wanted to read more so I went back to find some of my favorite parts to read them again.

I've never had such an emotional reaction to any book before. There were times when I was so deeply sad and upset and other times that I was literally laughing out loud. Many times I didn't want to read further as I feared I wouldn't like the outcome, yet I read as fast as I could hopi
Anyta Sunday
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Into this book I drowned—and I wasn’t so keen on being rescued. I quite loved where I was, thank you very much.

But—sigh—it’s over . . . I guess it’s time for me to do some grieving of my own, because boy will I miss these characters.

It’s hard to write a review for this without giving away too much. There are so many amazing twists and turns that it just has to be read. But, to give you a feel of the story, here are my dedications to each main character:

ABE – Such a warm, wonderful friend. I lo
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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I'll start off by saying that Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune is amazing. I knew before I started that this was going to be an emotional book but I still wasn't prepared. I ugly cried in this book- more than once. This book hurt so good.

This story is not only about two men who fall in love, but also the love between father and son. Benji lost his father, Big Eddie, five years ago and is haunted by the events that took place. He is convinced that his father was murdered. I don't want to expl
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Divinely heartwrenching and so full of love.

This book made me run the gamut of emotions from joy, to anger, to disbelief, to faith, to love, to grief. Those and so many more.

Was this book a fantasy? In a sense. Magical realism would be a more accurate moniker, specially the first half. What do you call a book filled with dreams that are real, and a guardian angel come down from On High?

As always, the prose was absolutely lovely. Lyrical and descriptive, TJK tells us this story through flashbacks
re-listen April 2018
I still have no words to describe the beauty that is this story but it will forever be one of my favorite books!


Until I find appropriate words for this fantastic book, I'll leave you some pictures.

What you need:

What you can expect:

Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like romance, m/m romance, angst and loss, seeking, religious tones.
No spoilers here, just feels. A lot of feels.

There is a drowning. Benjamin's daddy, Big Eddie, drowns in the river.
Then there is the drowning that Benjamin is going through, the drowning in sorrow and pain.
This story then goes from normal How to handle Loss, into strict paranormal and religious. And I hate the religious. Only here? It works.

It works so well, I am astonished. I fell headlong into the story, and I fell headlong in love with Benjamin. Cal took me a moment to warm up to, but feat

This might be the hardest review I’ve ever tried to write. Mostly because I don’t want give anything away about this book. I think it should be experienced with a completely blank slate. Also, there’s no way I could adequately express the beauty that I just read.

Benji is drowning in the loss of his father. He’s lonely, lost and drowning. Since his father’s death five years ago he goes through the motions of life. He feigns his happiness for his mother’s sake but nothing about his life really giv
Full review can be found at On Top Down Under Book Reviews.

A heartbreaking story of love, loss and sacrifice. Not all is as it appears and it takes suspension of belief in order to truly appreciate this story. I laughed. I cried. I ended it with a smile on my face.

Another great read by one of my favorite authors.

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

My Favorite Books of 2013

My Favorite Book Covers of 2013
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If we lived in an era where written works were still earmarked as classics, this book would definitely be a classic. The prose is haunting, captivating, and engaging. The imagery is powerfull and the emotions are intense. I have likened it to a modern day "To Kill A Mockingbird" because Roseland just has the feel of that laid back Southern town that Atticus Finch called home. All the townfolk are just a little quirky, a little offbeat, but that's okay because they have deep bonds that weave them ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
THIS WAS SO GOOD WTF (or should i say,,, so cherry,,,, bc i hate myself)
it was heartachingly beautiful and so well written and captivating i barely could stop reading because it was full of suspense but also emotions and also fluff and it also broke my heart so many times oh god
its so beautiful??? pls give it a try omg excuse me while i go cry in a corner for a few weeks
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 stars!

Okay I had to start with 5 stars, because I am still reeling from the emotional roller coaster that this book has put me through.

I started it last night, and it's not a short book, but I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I just couldn't get away from this story.

TJ Klune is a writing god, I tell you. He manages to capture so many emotions in such a simple, yet poetic way. This whole thing was like one long poem.

Benji is lost. So so lost. He lost his daddy, the greatest man who ever walked the ea
Jess-i-ca ~Sometimes a Gif Witch~
crying photo 4973548_zps836cc80b.gif

"This is at once the end and the beginning. This is the story of my love of two men. One is my father. The other is a man who fell from the sky."

Benji is a twenty-something year old gay man who lives in a small town. His father owned a gas station and he now runs it since his father passed away. He has this recurring dream where he is drowning. He is drowning and surrounded by blue. He is drowning, surrounded by blue, and his father is there. It’s the site where his father had his acci
Suanne Laqueur
I'm going to put this one down and not feel guilty. Those of you who know me know I worship Klune, and if one of his books was a "Meh" for me, it only makes me love and admire him more. And it gives me courage for when a fan thinks my latest is "Meh."

Let us embrace the beautiful human frailty that is meh!
❧A Bookish Berkeley Girl❧


into the river I drown

I LOVE philosophical reads...they just work for me, and add PNR. and I'm in HEAVEN.

The BIG treasures I found within this book:

The romance was ADORBS.
The PNR touch is awesome. Angels I love.
The action was thrilling.
The Christian touches was fantastic.
I have the e-book and audiobook with Matt Baca, I found he is a gifted narrator , I love how he drew me in. There were changing in the characters by voice, and GAWD Cal

Long and angsty and sad, I did the ugly cry near the end. In fact, I went and hid in the bathroom to read a big chunk of the end of it, and then came back and read on my tablet with the lights out, so hubby couldn't see my red eyes and puffy nose.

While this IS a love story with a HEA, at it's heart, this is more of a story about the love between a father and son, and the grief everyone feels when a truly good man dies.

My only real complaint was who the "Boss" ended up being, it seemed out of
All the awards!!! All the awards for this book!! Go, buy it, read it, rejoice.

I still can't write a coherent review for this book. I wish I could give it more stars.

This book. This book!! It gutted me, gleefully ripped out and stomped on my heart, and then with a 'there, there' pat on the head, gave me a wee bit of happiness at the end. Wee meaning teeny-tiny, barely enough to stop me from drowning in my own tears.

That's all I have to say about that.
Vanessa North
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Oh, oh, what a story.

Evocative prose written with a quiet, lilting rhythm, so subtle. Deeply graphic imagery, wildly imaginitve plot. Beautiful, richly-drawn characters. A heartbreaking beginning. A love-affirming ending. A gripping ride the whole way.

Read it!
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*Buddy Read: Meli Mel, Lili & Pervy 5/13/14* 81 34 May 17, 2014 03:54PM  
The Backlot Gay B...: Tj Klune, "Into this River I Drown" 6 61 May 10, 2013 10:57PM  
Dreamspinner Press: Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune 1 54 Mar 25, 2013 01:56PM  

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TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it's important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.

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“Sometimes I float along the river
For its surface I am bound
And there are times stones done fill my pockets
And it's into this river I drown”
More quotes…