Friday, September 27, 2013
Author: Michael Farris Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
FANTASTIC! I have not read anything this interesting and different in a while.
Taking the true life issues the Gulf Coast residents have been dealing with and giving them apocalyptic size proportions takes worry and heartache and turns it into life threatening terror.
Throw in a bit of McCarthy's "The Road" and a few clips of the original "Mad Max" and you get a sampling of what life has become below the government mandated line that now makes the last 90 miles of land leading to the Gulf Coast no man's land. No law, no power, no safety. Constant hurricane like weather, rain non-stop for 3 or more years, causing houses, business, roadways and trees to slowly rot and crumble into wet sludgy spots in the mud.
The characters in this novel are very alive, you can get into their minds and see where their ideas, and ideals, originate from. You feel the pain and heartache each one has. The author takes a group of people and makes sure at least a spark of personality comes through each one.
Sticking with first Cohen and his animals, and later Cohen and his people, as they decide it's time to run to the safety of the government line keeps you on the edge of your seat. They are truly in a land with no rules and even stopping for water, or finding a drivable road, is fraught with danger. Then there leads the question - is a line across the road really going to make it safer on the other side?
Through flashbacks you discover more about Cohen - his deep longing and love for the wife and soon-to-be born baby that he lost to the storms and how that leads him in his future actions. There's also a very interesting surprise toward the end of the book, all leading to the question - Why did Cohen never leave the land the government forgot and continue to live on surrounded by misery, hunger and danger? Some of it has an obvious answer, the rest - not so much.
Idgie Says YES! Grab a copy today!
It had been raining for weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn’t rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and sunshine glistened across the drenched land.
Following years of catastrophic hurricanes, the Gulf Coast—stretching from the Florida panhandle to the western Louisiana border—has been brought to its knees. The region is so punished and depleted that the government has drawn a new boundary ninety miles north of the coastline. Life below the Line offers no services, no electricity, and no resources, and those who stay behind live by their own rules.
Cohen is one who stayed. Unable to overcome the crushing loss of his wife and unborn child who were killed during an evacuation, he returned home to Mississippi to bury them on family land. Until now he hasn’t had the strength to leave them behind, even to save himself.
But after his home is ransacked and all of his carefully accumulated supplies stolen, Cohen is finally forced from his shelter. On the road north, he encounters a colony of survivors led by a fanatical, snake-handling preacher named Aggie who has dangerous visions of repopulating the barren region.
Realizing what’s in store for the women Aggie is holding against their will, Cohen is faced with a decision: continue to the Line alone, or try to shepherd the madman’s captives across the unforgiving land with the biggest hurricane yet bearing down—and Cohen harboring a secret that may pose the greatest threat of all.
Eerily prophetic in its depiction of a southern landscape ravaged by extreme weather, Rivers is a masterful tale of survival and redemption in a world where the next devastating storm is never far behind.