Daniel Cuthbert's Reviews > Deep River

Deep River by Karl Marlantes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: adult-fiction, contemporary-fiction, fiction, giveaways, literary-novels

Epic in every sense of the word, “Deep River” concerns three Finnish family members, Ilmari, Matti, and Aino. The three migrate from Finland to Oregon around the turn of the century and find themselves embroiled in the timber industry in an effort to establish new and better lives for themselves, to varying degrees of success in this massive, 700+ page tome.

It’s very easy to look at a book this size and immediately run screaming for the hills, thinking there is no way that you could read anything like that. And while yes, it may be a little harder to stick this book in a purse or a bag, it certainly doesn’t read like a slog through early 20th century history. In fact, it’s the way that Karl Marlantes builds these epic worlds, combining clear historical research with his ability to show rather than simply recite, that makes this such an amazing novel. I am just a bit biased in that he sets the novel mostly in the pre to just after World War I time period that I find immensely interesting. But as you read, you can really start to understand just how much of what went on here, ended up influencing so much of what’s happening now. He does an especially great job of making this earlier era setting extremely timely, pulling you in by virtue of how he can tie events into modern times. Especially with Aino, who becomes a Socialist figure and member of the labor group the IWW, known commonly as the “Wobblies” who ends up fighting for better working conditions and has to deal with the repression that came to many labor organizations after World War I. By the end, the parallels with modern progressives are made abundantly clear.

While certainly having political aims, Marlantes also makes you truly care about what happens to all of the siblings. Their struggles and triumphs are done truthfully and you get to really learn a lot about Finnish culture, besides the American History touches. This is literary genealogy, done in such a way that the length is secondary to being entertained by an enthralling, well-paced piece of historical fiction.

(I received a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway and very much appreciate the opportunity to get to read and give my thoughts on it!)
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Reading Progress

April 21, 2019 – Shelved
April 21, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
July 1, 2019 – Started Reading
July 1, 2019 –
page 112
July 1, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
July 1, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary-fiction
July 1, 2019 – Shelved as: adult-fiction
July 1, 2019 – Shelved as: literary-novels
July 1, 2019 – Shelved as: giveaways
July 2, 2019 –
page 218
July 4, 2019 –
page 370
July 5, 2019 –
page 501
July 8, 2019 –
page 615
July 8, 2019 – Finished Reading

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