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River Talk

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Surefooted and emotionally deft, the stories in River Talk introduce an unforgettable array of characters. A woman reconsiders her decision to join a fundamentalist compound and enter a polygamous marriage; a Somali refugee takes a job at the local mill to support her family; a college student attempts to right her world through the lens of mathematics; an Iraq War vet str ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published April 12th 2014 by C&R Press (first published March 11th 2014)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  121 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Penny Watson
Apr 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful collection of short stories set in Maine. Anderson's clear, lovely writing voice is the perfect vehicle for these bittersweet observations about Maine life.

Highly recommended.

Grade: A
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A memorable and haunting book of short stories, some of which really come back to you when you don't expect them. One about the woman with the damaged child in a cult...half Stephen King, half Raymond Carver. Another about a bartender with an austic son, another about a woman trying to make a go of it making jewelry, a divorced dad factory worker fighting with his ex.

As a lifelong New Englander, I feel like I really 'get' these stories, which are not always "fun" to read but more meditative, li
May 21, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
I DNF’d this book. Ya’ll know that is not normal for me but I figured life was too short to spend time reading a book that is “little slices of misery” as my librarian friend said.
I tried, I really did. But, ugh! Even if the stories could have held me the pacing was terrible. With almost every line I felt like I was listening to the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Bland and monotone. No passion (even with all the weird sex) just invariability.
So, anyway, for me the pacing was off and
Zachary Houle
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m going to have to make an apology to the author and publisher of this book for taking so long in getting around to reviewing this. More than two years has passed since River Talk, a short story collection, bowed, and I was supposed to review it for a friend’s blog. However, life issues — namely, my ongoing battle with unemployment — got in the way, and it just slid down the list of priorities of things to do. And, of course, I was doing some music reviewing, which turned into reviewing Christ ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this anthology. C.B. Anderson is a master of the short story and I read the whole book in one sitting. Can't wait to read her next book! ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How many times did I cross the walking bridge at the end of a shift? Five thousand at least. Always struck me odd, how we parked on the other side of the river from where we worked, as if to remind us of the connection of the town to the river, the river to the mill, the mill to the town. Tonight the metal feels less solid underfoot, the slats held up by nothing. Halfway across I stop and lean out. Water rushes below, dirty over rocks and the refuse of two hundred years.

I know Maine. I know the
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
RIVER TALK by CB Anderson is a collection of short stories that are all set in Maine from mill towns in the 1940's, to gem mines in the 1980's and urban centers in recent times. If you know Maine and its geography, from small towns and the mountains to the vast inland areas, (its not just the coast) you will be able to relate. If not, you will learn. The stories are disparate from short fiction, to murder to classic short stories, all well written. ...more
Sandra Miller
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous collection of stories set in Maine, written by someone who knows the territory well. She writes with depth and curiosity about the people, the rivers, the towns, and the hardships. And each story is so beautifully crafted. If you think you know Maine through the vacation spots, I would encourage you to read this book for a sense of the complexity beyond the beauty.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short stories, all set in Maine. This is another of the Read ME books for this summer, chosen by Maine author Paul Doiron. These were stories of the real life Maine that I hear about on the news, the ones the politicians talk about. I only have a glancing knowledge of the rest of Maine, the poverty all over this very large state. These stories of survival and struggle in the failing river towns, the human cost of closing of mills and finding a new way to work and live. It got me out of the littl ...more
Patrick Oster
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"I write thrillers, which I consider
entertainment. River Talk is closer to literature. I met
C.B. an a book awards dinner, and when she described her
winning book as short stories about Western Maine, I said
that sounded like Annie Proulx's Wyoming Stories. I joked
that the perfect dust-cover blurb would be "Looks like
Tina Fey (she does), writes like Annie Proulx." Now that
I've read her stories, I realize it was no joke."
Leslie Goldberg
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
CB Anderson is THE writer to watch. This collection of short stories offers a sensual, real, and intimate look at life in small-town Maine. Eclectic and original, these stories feature complex characters, delicately wrought imagery, and compelling dialogue. Mostly, they will make you think. I highly recommend this book!
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really good writing and I liked the characters. Anderson shows us the soft bellies of her very realistic subjects. In between human interactions, the author reminds the reader of the quiet power of the sky, the river, the falling of night.
Beth Jusino
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A good book to read while spending a few days in central Maine where giant brick factories still loom over the rivers. A deep, diverse collection of stories about what it means to live here, far from the tourist towns and vacation houses.
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book came up in my book club as part of a statewide program and I guess it just wasn't my...type of...thing.
In fairness, I probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise.
I'm not sure what it was about this book that didn't appeal to me. Was it the overly florid descriptions? The depressing stories? The weird sex stuff? Yeah, it was like 90% the weird sex stuff. And the AMOUNT of creepy descriptions of children's bodies. STOP doing this writers. No one is asking for this. Stop.

Most of the
Lori Ambacher
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
River Talk is a wonderfully eclectic mix of stories which I added to the reading list for my Fiction Writing class a few years ago, since I felt that her stories are particularly useful for helping students understand how to give their stories a sense of place. Many of these stories were prizewinners and published before they were collected here, and it's great to see the stories together. I'm particularly a fan of "Two Falls" and "In the Ice," which starts off with some amazing description that ...more
Alex Ricker
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
Looking at other reviews I saw one that described the stories in this book as “windows of misery” into people’s lives - I couldn’t explain it better myself. Reading this book was more depressing than watching the news, because the stories it told were every day sort of sad, telling about failures, mistakes and generally unhappy people. I am sure there are lots of people out there living lives like this, but I actively choose to be happier than that. I will say that these stories were quite reali ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
River Talk was written about the lives of the men and women living along a river in a small western Maine town remarkably similar to where I grew up. In so many of the 17 stories in this collection, I felt like I was reliving my childhood, growing up in the 1970’s along that river. I was riveted from start to finish. C.B. Anderson captured life along the river valley to perfection. I highly recommend this book.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Each of these wonderful stories creates a deeply felt world -- the outer world of Maine and places farther afield -- and the illuminated inner world of its characters. River Talk reminds me of how much great writers can accomplish in a few pages. I love books like this -- that bring me places I've never been, that remind me of how rich and strange and tough our lives can be. ...more
Paula Weisberger
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars
I’m not usually a fan of short story collections, but I loved this. Seventeen stories about the grittier side of Maine, pulled together by the river connection in the mill towns. Different points of view and different lengths but all with memorable detail and an emotional punch. My favorites were In the Ice and Two Falls.
Louie Cronin
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
River Talk is the best book of short stories I have read in years. It made me love the form all over again. Each story creates an intense world, and the stories add up as you go through, until by the end you feel like you have traveled somewhere profound. This is a collection brimming with grace and fierce intelligence.
Jan 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
I will start by saying that I am not a big fan of the short story however I keep searching for the one collection that will grab me and have me hold on to the carousel ring.
I purchased this book on the recommendation of someone whose work I enjoy but will hesitate to do so again without a lot of research. The one star was a gift.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
19 vignettes, depicting the diverse lives of Mainahs, mostly is sad situations. Well crafted, deeply understanding of human plights and emotions, small slices of life, mostly from the depths of need, lack of hope, the struggle to survive, and a few with a glimmer of hope.
very atmospheric short stories, mainly about people living in Western Maine, in the mill towns where there is little money or much hope. While that is the background for many of the stories (a few take place in coastal towns), the characters all have unique issues and struggles.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not normally fond of books of short stories. But this book is lovely. Each story is like a sketch of a life. The situations feel realistic and the people are distinct and recognizable. Very well done.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent writing; depressing stories.
Bette Stevens
River Talk's collection of short stories set in rural Maine is filled with insightful glimpses into lives and characters past and present. Fascinating, yet true to life stories well told. ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful short stories about my adopted state of Maine.
Jim Butler
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I live in a former paper mill town. This book resonates Maine, the good and some of the bad. I was sad to reach the end.
Stephen Richardson
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A couple misses, but mostly hits. All set in Maine, mostly in Oxford County.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely stories.
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CB Anderson is a cross-genre writer whose work has appeared in The Iowa Review, North American Review, Huffington Post, Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton & Co.), The Christian Science Monitor, Redbook, Boston Magazine, and elsewhere.
A collection of her stories, River Talk, was named to Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014. Her forthcoming book, New Moon Over Lisbon Street (Perseus Pu

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