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The River at Night

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  112 ratings  ·  28 reviews
A man has trouble falling asleep and reflects on his life, marriage, and time itself

In The River at Night, Kevin Huizenga delves deep into consciousness. What begins as a simple, distracted conversation between husband and wife, Glenn and Wendy Ganges—him reading a library book and her working on her computer—becomes an exploration of being and the passage of time. As they
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Hardcover, 216 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  112 ratings  ·  28 reviews


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David Schaafsma
I feel like I have been waiting for many years for this book to come out, and feared that like anyone might switch gears that Kevin Huizenga had just decided to do something else with his life. But oh boy, as with other long projects that took a long time, such as Berlin and Clyde Fans, this is worth the wait. This more than 200-page book is (so far) Huizenga’s crowning achievement, his most ambitious work. What’s it about? On the simplest level, it is a series of short interconnected stories ...more
Adam Stone
Sep 25, 2019 marked it as abandoned
Kevin Huizenga's work is just not for me. I find his concepts so incredibly dull that I can't enjoy his visual art, which is a shame, as he's quite talented.

If you like it when someone really high, or really into their own thought process tries and explain their worldview to you, you might love this book. If you find that sort of thing tedious, I'd avoid this at all costs.
Jesús
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Huizenga’s long-in-process work takes place during a single, extended, sleepless night (imagine Winsor McCay meets James Joyce). The visual inventiveness, playfulness, and sheer artistry on display are absolutely jaw-dropping. There are images and sequences that I will long remember and return to in the years to come.

But for all of its incredible visual craft (the “how”), I just can’t get into the characters and themes (the “what”). The two main characters, Glenn and Wendy, are youngish,
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Michelle
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
I just did NOT click with this. This was a weird collection of vignettes about a character named Glenn Ganges. Glenn seems to have a hard time sleeping, so many of the “stories” follow his nighttime ruminations as he struggles to sleep.

Huizenga uses some interesting visuals to play around with the concept of space and time (comics is a really cool medium for exploring this topic imo) which initially pulled me in, but as I continued reading, I felt myself less and less interested and disengaged.
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Elizabeth A
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, graphix, stories
Well, color me perplexed. I read the GR blurb, and this comic sounded exactly like something I'd really like.

It's not a novel, but musings on insomnia and other things that make up a life. There were sections I did enjoy, and the art is really interesting throughout, but I didn't like this one overall.

As a non-gamer, there were entire sections that made no sense to me. I did like the ramblings of a mind unable to sleep, and the explorations of space and time, but it was all too disjointed for
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Kim
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
on phenomenology of time & present & memory; repetitive/cyclical nature of mundanity; memory/history as intertextuality; parallel vs spiral (2d vs 1d) / eternity vs beginning & the end; geography -> the unit of time is different; diagrams; two dimensionality / spacetime of comics: it doesnt need to go in the one direction, several directions; at the present, right now right here, so many different time and space flow (thanks to photos, books, video games (first pov: similar to ...more
Charles Hatfield
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A mind-altering philosophical novel in the form of an insomniac's restless night, which becomes the pretext for reflections on life and time. Sleepless Glenn Ganges lies awake, his mind turning over and over, while Huizenga's brilliant art uses the diagrammatic qualities of comics to capture the involutions of his thought. This book encourages the reader to rethink their relationship to memory, duration, and place, and manages to be contemplative, deeply serious, seriously funny, provocative, ...more
Becky Loader
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is just not for me. Trying to fall asleep, the narrator enters into a vast rumination about life, the universe, and everything. Too rambling.
Helen
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adults.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
A wonderful graphic novel, a tour de force really, consisting of the protagonist's (Glenn's) struggle to fall asleep - having had too much coffee - and the thoughts racing through his mind, as he can't decide what to do next: Should he read, should he go online, etc. The book consists of episodes in Glenn's life, each of which invariably lead to questions on the nature of time, how time flows by - that it is gone in a flash, really, compared to geologic or cosmic time - and how Glenn seems to be ...more
Batmark
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Last night (a Thursday), I woke up around a quarter to 2 and couldn't get back to sleep. At 3:00 I finally slipped out of bed, sneaked into the basement, and searched my bookshelves for something to read. Perhaps it was inevitable that my eyes would fall upon Huizenga's The River at Night. "This is a little too on the nose," I thought to myself--but then, if one can't read about insomnia while one has insomnia, what's the point?

Huizenga is a master of exploring--and exploding--a single moment
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Steve Portigal
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I actually thought of Scott McCloud while reading this, the way the main character Glenn Ganges moves through these very interesting frames that depict abstract concepts; that may not be an accurate memory of Understanding Comics et al but it's what came to mind. The artwork is exception, so detailed, such an amazing way of communicating abstract concepts (e.g., as time shifts away from linearity, the panels start to slide around and on top of each other, at one point the page depicts a stack of ...more
Luke Stacks
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The title of Kevin Huizenga's latest collection seems to refer to a river the runs through Glenn Ganges'* Midwestern city, but each chapter brings up other, more thought-provoking rivers: the river of mental chatter during a sleepless night; the river of online communication; the river of time, which a nostalgic person can use to travel to any moment in their memory; and the river of deep time, a physical record of the kind of change that makes ordinary human life seem insignificant.

*The Ganges
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Przemek Skoczyński
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Koncept tego komiksu jest taki, że bohater ma problemy z zaśnięciem co niesie konsekwencje w postaci przemyśleń na temat czasu, przestrzeni i świadomości. Huizenga tworzył przez lata świetną serię, którą teraz zebrano do kupy i wydano jako całość. Kapitalna jest sama narracja, gdzie dominuje balansowanie na granicy jawy i snu, ten dziwny stan przed zaśnięciem, gdy do pozornie logicznej fabuły wkracza absurd. Autor serwuje mix obyczajówki z elementami filozofii i nauki, ale spora część to także ...more
Michael
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
While there is some terrific cartooning and design in these pages and I appreciate Huizenga's attention to the tangential thoughts of basic human distraction (you'll certainly see yourself in how Glenn's attention shifts from what's right in front of him to some rabbit hole of diversion), I found the book as a whole turgid and banal. None of it felt insightful or fresh, and a few sequences - like the video game bit (which is, admittedly, perhaps something I simply can't relate to, as a devout ...more
Chris M
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Art and page layouts are fantastic. This guy knows how to draw and make comics effectively, and there is a lot of innovation with format as well. I enjoyed the first half of the book. The way he draws and lays out his comics puts the mundane on a trippy almost spiritual wavelength. Sorry to say though, I found the slice of life and hunk of this guy's anxiety comics to be repetitive despite the excellent art and form. The book turned into a slog at points....
Dan Clark
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
If you ever laid in bed at night with your mind racing or got lost in a day dream this will give you plenty to relate to as it unfolds like a stream of consciousness an examines about nearly everything you can imagine. It leads to a surprising Read and even dips its toe in playing with the comic book format. There may not be massive depth to exploration but the sheer randomness makes it work.

Daniel
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Visually, this book is right up my alley. I really liked the art and the layout. In particular, there was an interesting layout effect where Huizenga had drawn pages that were in the process of being turned. The dot com story was really interesting but the last couple chapters were a bit of a chore to Wade through.
Santiago Endara
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I found this book hard to follow. With the exception of the story of the main character working in a dotcom company in the early 2000s, the other stories were too fractured, complicated and lacking an interesting storyline. ...more
Shelly
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A very, very, very real graphic depiction of what insomnia feels like. Too real considering my sleep over the past month. But it feels good to know that someone else out there has the same weird experience of insomnia that I do.
Karl
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve been a fan of Huizenga’s art and storytelling via his character Glenn Ganges for years. This book is a wildly trippy exploration of insomnia that had me lost at times but overall I was quite impressed with the book for the most part.
Michael
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Glancing at the reviews, this is clearly a pretty polarizing book. I've always loved Huizenga, and this is in the same vein as his other comics. I love the playfulness, I love the seriousness, I love how well he captures what it really feels like to be awake at night.
Kyle Vernier
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
The River at Night was so relatable. It captures perfectly the feeling of your mind racing as you lay in bed trying to force yourself to sleep after drinking too much coffee.
Max
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It has its flaws, but in whole it's still a masterpiece in visual communication.
Ji Le
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quelques pages géniales sur l'insomnie et le hamster qui trotte dans la tête.
Satyajit Chetri
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An alt comix masterpiece. Stories of sleepless nights, wandering thoughts, decade-old memories, and the passing of time.
Dave
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
I kept trying to get to the end. It succeeds when it phisophises and tries to make point than traipsing in and out of the same ground hogs day scenario.
el
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
I would've preferred to read this in novel form, and didn't find the visual medium to serve much of a purpose to warrant its use.
Ingrid
Good visual art. Some stories were more interesting than others.
Robert Boyd
rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2019
Emily
rated it really liked it
Nov 24, 2019
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Kevin Huizenga was born in 1977 in Harvey, IL and spent most of his childhood in South Holland, IL, near Chicago. He attended college in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and moved to St. Louis in 2000 where he lives and works.

He began drawing comics in high school, xeroxing his first issue (with friends) at the neighborhood Jewel Osco in 1993. Since that time he's made approximately 30 more. In 2001 the
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