River of Heaven: A Novel

Front Cover
Shaye Areheart Books, 2008 - Fiction - 265 pages
21 Reviews
“You have to know the rest of my story, the
part I can’t yet bring myself to say. A story
of a boy I knew a long time ago and a
brother I loved and then lost.”

Past and present collide in Lee Martin’s highly anticipated novel of a man, his brother, and the dark secret that both connects and divides them. Haunting and beautifully wrought, River of Heaven weaves a story of love and loss, confession and redemption, and the mystery buried with a boy named Dewey Finn.

On an April evening in 1955, Dewey died on the railroad tracks outside Mt. Gilead, Illinois, and the mystery of his death still confounds the people of this small town.

River of Heavenbegins some fifty years later and centers on the story of Dewey’s boyhood friend Sam Brady, whose solitary adult life is much formed by what really went on in the days leading up to that evening at the tracks. It’s a story he’d do anything to keep from telling, but when his brother, Cal, returns to Mt. Gilead after decades of self-exile, it threatens to come to the surface.

A Pulitzer Prize finalist forThe Bright Forever, Lee Martin masterfully conveys, with a voice that is at once distinct and lyrical, one man’s struggle to come to terms with the outcome of his life. Powerful and captivating,River of Heavenis about the high cost of living a lie, the chains that bind us to our past, and the obligations we have to those we love.

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Beautiful writing, wonderful book! - Goodreads
Martin's writing style is so moving and colorful. - Goodreads
Well, I didn't really like the ending. - Goodreads
I mean just what I said; I wanted a different ending. - Goodreads

Review: River of Heaven

User Review  - Doreen Fritz - Goodreads

I like this mystery for its setting: small town in southern Illinois, and for its characters, who are not trite nor one-dimensional, but rather not-all-revealed. The main character, Sam, is 65, a man ... Read full review

Review: River of Heaven

User Review  - Debra Morris - Goodreads

I did not like this as much as the bright forever but still an excellent book. The author captures the utter loneliness of the main character brilliantly. He also depicts,via Sam, what it means to ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

LEE MARTIN is the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalistThe Bright Forever; a novel,Quakertown; a story collection,The Least You Need to Know; and two memoirs,From Our HouseandTurning Bones. He has won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, a Lawrence Foundation Award, and the Glenna Luschei Prize. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he directs the creative writing program at The Ohio State University.

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