©1960 Mary Monroe; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC
"Graves' originality and flair turn this local scene and regional lore into an honest and powerfully evocative picture of frontier life anywhere." (The Chicago Sunday Tribune)
I'll admit I did tune out at times when the author went on for a while about minor historical points along the course of the river. However, the narrator does an outstanding job, personalizing the story so vividly that I still can't believe Graves didn't read it himself.
I really fell for the antics of his traveling companion ("The Passenger").
I enjoy listening to audiobooks while working in my shop or around the house -sort of mental multitasking.
I have read this book. I have listened to the audio book 4 or 5 times. This travel narrative of a canoe trip down the Brazos River in the 1950's is so many things it is difficult to describe. It is an entertaining story of a man and a dash hound puppy on a canoe trip. It is a story of the history of the last century in this part of Texas with all of the bad and some of the good included. It is the story of a man struggling to cope with the fast coming changes of modern life. However, what it really is, is a complex work that evokes so many thoughts and emotions that it takes me longer to get through it with each listen, and makes me sad it is over every time I finish it.
This was my absolute favorite read, until I purchased the audio. Now it's off the charts.
The story of old Mr. Graves floating down the river, reminiscing about his youth, area history with all its peculiar characters, interacting with representatives of modern "reality", and reflecting on how they all ebb and flow together. He approaches all the stories with a frank and unflappable insight for both the noble and ridiculous, and how they ebb and flow together as well. Nothing idealized, nothing belittled. It just is. or was.
weather. dog. hillbillies. city slickers. The People. neighbors. wildlife. drunks. instant friends.
The Brazos River tied Texas together geographically. It still ties its past to its present. That past is part of us today, and the river and its not so serene beauty serve as Icon for that connection.
The narrator is PERFECT for the story. I feel like I sat and listened to the author tell the story himself. what a treat!
If you love Texas, love the outdoors, love people, or love history, you'll love this book.
10 out of 5.
Imagine that your most erudite AND most grounded friend has been driven by a profound need to make a special journey. On his return he explains the need which drove him and relates how the journey unfolded. Imagine that your friend is a little old-fashioned but understands the inevitability of change, that he has a sense of the direction in which the world is moving, and that he just happens to be the best storyteller you know. That's GOODBYE TO A RIVER.
Then imagine that he has the kind of gentle, expressive speaking voice that you could listen to for hours on end.
Then buy this audiobook.
I'm a 53 year old native of Texas and this work strikes many chords with me. The book is 'required reading' for anyone interested in a blend of 50's 'progress' in the form of the threatened river and a whole host of tales that, in spite of Graves' conditional idolatry, does not paint a flattering picture of settlers who no doubt loved the land but on their own terms. The subjugation of native Americans is well-portrayed. But the best part of the book, fleeting at times and maddeningly interrupted by various pseudophilosophical diatribes, is just hearing about floating down the river in the capricious time of November in Texas. The vicissitudes of the trip, puctuated by the 'passenger' dachshund are great. I just took his, as the author being a Texan, god-given right to blast birds out the beautiful autumn sky when he would have done just fine with fish or goods from the various stores he finds along the way, with a grain of salt If you're not a Texan, you are more than likely to not really understand or appreciate the book.
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