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Only the River - A Novel - cover

Only the River - A Novel

Anne Raeff

Publisher: Counterpoint

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Summary

For fans of sweeping historical and family sagas like those by Michael Ondaatje, Sarah Blake, or Claire Lombardo's recent debut, The Most Fun We've Ever Had, as well as for fans of Anthony Marra or Anthony Doerr, and fans of Jewish historical fiction
Anne Raeff tells her story not in linear time, but instead by weaving into her chapters the different families' generations, exploring the parallels and echoes between them; the structure is ambitious, and the award-winning author pulls it off
Raeff always writes about exiles in her fiction, beginning with the Flannery O'Connor Award-winning story collection The Jungle Around Us. In Only the River, this theme becomes deeply personal, as Raeff draws from aspects of her own grandparents' history of fleeing Vienna
A compelling, engrossing read perfect for book clubs, with moving characters who charm, complicated family relationships (including among mothers and their children, siblings, and second families rebuilding after the loss of their first), and vivid settings that range from the Soviet Union to a remote riverside village in Nicaragua, to New York City
Raeff's fiction so brilliantly reads like real experience, lyrically, intimately attentive to the wide variety of lives at hand: hers are often queer characters, mixed race characters, New Yorkers who move back and forth between English and Spanish; they are people the reader quickly feels at home with, swept up in their worlds
In the 1930s and 1940s, not all Jews fled the persecution of the Nazis to North America from Europe; instead, some Jews landed in Central and South America first. Only the River follows the reverberations of one Jewish family's flight to Nicaruagua, before they move on to Manhattan. 
Raeff lives in the Bay Area, CA
Acquired by Counterpoint editor in chief, Dan Smetanka

 
Bookseller Praise for Only the River

 
"This book delighted me by both its elegance and its excellence. The story begins and ends with Pepa, whose doctor parents escaped Nazi persecution and fled with her to Nicaragua. As a teen, she flourished and fell in love with Guillermo, only to be uprooted again to New York. Over the ensuing years, their family's lives continue to entwine with neither Pepa nor Guillermo knowing all that the reader knows. Though the book is only three hundred pages, it's a feast." —Susan Buschmann, Anderson's Bookshop (Naperville, IL)

 
"Spanning the world from Vienna to Nicaragua to New York, Only the River is a love story, and a story of revolution, as well as what happens when a family moves to avoid trouble but ends up causing pain and anger. I felt for Pepa—being moved around without her consent and losing the young love of her life. The side story of her parents’ attempts to rid the small town of El Castillo of the yellow fever plaguing the area near San Juan River was insightful and went a ways toward forgiving them for taking Pepa away from her love. This story is focused on family trials as well as current world affairs. I learned a lot and you will, too, while you enjoy the skill and insight displayed by this award-winning author." —Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore (Spokane, WA)

 
"Loved it!" —Anne Holman, The King's English Bookshop (Salt Lake City, UT)

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