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Readers respond to The Patience of Rivers

"I had to write to tell you how much I enjoyed The Patience of Rivers. Your characters brought me back to my most beloved group of friends from long ago. Your expertise in descriptive storytelling jettisoned me out of bed at 5am to finish the book! The only difficult part for me was that the book came to an end. I could have kept on reading and reading. The Patience of Rivers was the perfect companion for me during these past few icy cold winter days. I was in Delaware Ford in the summer, hearing the river flow by.

"Thank you for this wonderful book. I will take the richness of it with me into my studio to conjure up the memories of my dear friends and family of the 60's. With the feelings I will re-live the preciousness of that time by focusing on translating it into form, spinning away at my potters wheel, transfixed on your words. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!!"
– Ayla Maloney, Callicoon, NY


"I finished "The Patience of Rivers" and you definitely had the mood of the sixties right. Anyone who lived during that era can relate to any one of the characters, or all of them. It was a different time, maybe not a better time than today, but most kids accepted each other more then than today. I have a daughter who just graduated high school and wants to read it to try and gain a better understanding of the history of Woodstock and the culture of the sixties and this book should do it. Thanks for a great book."
– Liz Ruhren, Neversink, NY


"I found the book fascinating reading. As a teenager, in the 1940's, I spent a month each summer at a camp on the River a little below Bushkill and in 1970 I took a 3 day canoe trip with my younger son, John on the river above Port Jervis. Thanks for writing such an interesting book."
– Reese Davis, West Chester, PA


"The Patience of Rivers had great meaning for me personally as I turned 18 that same spring and went to Woodstock in August. But this was just an added attraction, as the story was wonderful and your characters so memorable. I didn't want to finish the book. I just wanted it to go on and on. I marvelled at your ability to capture so many aspects of that time: growing up, facing new challenges, the idea of being at the verge of change. Change that might influence the rest of your life, although no one knew that at the time.

"I truly loved your characters. They are drawn with a fine sharpness. I can see each one in my mind's eye. I think we all have known someone like the father's partner at one time or another. The consistency of your characters was great. Each one did and said exactly what he or she should do or say. There was great humor and sadness as well.

"In my experience of that time, things happened just as you portrayed them. I was in a different place but it was still the same. You captured it all. Thank you for this wonderful book."
– Christine Carreiro, Livingston Manor, NY


"There's so much I like about The Patience of Rivers. Your authorial expertise regarding canoeing, running the river, managing the business and the events of the 60's are obvious. But what was different about the way you shared that knowledge was the respect and admiration with which you conveyed that info. It wasn't clinical; there was a deep appreciation of the quotidian, the work and the passion of your characters' lives.

"Your characters were so real for me – Kit's quiet strength that finally physically explodes; the sleazy but believable Ted; the practical, realistic, good intentioned Francis. What I liked most about the book, however, was the tenderness, sensitivity and honesty of Nick in relation to the others: the tentativeness when he was falling in love with Darlene; finally finding truth in a relationship with Joanie; his reaction to Felix's loss; his uncertainty about college life; his feeling of duty and responsibility for his family despite his personal desires; his awe about the moon walk; and his optimism about the future.

"The Patience of Rivers is a fine novel. The river itself became a character controlling the others' lives, providing their livelihood, directing their lives' journey. Thanks for a fine read."
– Marsha Robinson, Portsmouth, NH


"My 16 year old is reading The Patience of Rivers this summer, and I thank you for the conversations it has invoked. It's a great book to share with teenagers."
– Alison Peck-Smith, Damascus, PA


"I just finished your book. Very enjoyable. I selected this book for two reasons: 1) Other than my 7 years in college, I have spent my life in the Port Jervis area; and 2) although I am only 42, I have always been fascinated with the social history of 1969. Your book is excellent. I could see this made into a good movie!"
– Joe Rifkin, Port Jervis, NY


"What a great read... found your book in Book of the Month Club. The Patience of Rivers brings to life a wonderful time in my life. I am now 48 and just returned from a 30-year high school reunion in upstate New York. I haven't yet finished the book yet but suspect I will be up most of tonight as it is impossible to put down. The spirit, the mood, the feelings are dynamic. Thanks again."
– Frank Stoy, Toledo, OH


"I just got home from the lake
I finally was alone with your book for a few moments.
What a trip
we were out floating on our boat
and I am reading this amazing work!
the water and the words just flowed
you took me to a place that I have been
and one that I could never know!
you encapsulated all the lore that
surrounded that summmer of love
I ate it up
Thanks for the ride!
you made me cry and I loved it."
– Beth Bernitt, Jeffersonville, NY


"I read The Patience of Rivers this week – neglected my beloved Yankees to do so – and thought it was really great. Your first novel was good, but this one is more sure-footed, deeper and richer. You're doing exactly what an author is supposed to do – developing. The characters were real, the dialogue was right on key and the atmosphere was really true. Congratulations."
– John Marchese, author of Renovations, New York City


"During the summer of 1969 I had just finished my freshman year in college and was working as a flagman for the Pennsylvania Highway Department. We spent most of that time paving Rt. 6 between Honesdale, PA and Narrowsburg, NY. It was the summer I'll never forget and The Patience of Rivers brought back evenings at the Black Horse and the Nutshell. It brought back days of my youth hunting and driving around in what had to be a perfect area to grow up around. It brought back memories of jumping off the Narrowsburg bridge and also thoughts of friends who did not get a draft deferment during those troubling times.

"Like the Van Voreen girls being served at the local bars as soon as they could get their noses up to the bar, I had done exactly the same thing. I remember my Grandfather getting his shotgun out when some people headed for Woodstock stopped to ask for directions, even though my appearance was much the same. I'm now sitting here in Northern Minnesota with a good life but thinking fondly of when innocence was lost and the stakes were very high. Thank you for writing The Patience of Rivers."
– Dave Stinnard, Northern Minnesota


"A great book can effectively transport you to another place and another time, allowing you to relive a part of your life. The Patience of Rivers did that for me... It took me right back to the carefree days of Woodstock."
– Carmine S. Zaino
Executive Creative Director, Book of the Month Club


"Three times a week I fast-walk and there are times where I get into the same zone as your characters do while paddling – and, just like them, when I notice that I'm there, I lose it. I'm not a reviewer and don't want to go on and on – but I loved both of your books, which I read on my vacation. The Patience of Rivers was a good read and will always be linked to staying up late into the night in Rio sharing your world. Couldn't have had better company. I read Suburban Guerrillas on the plane coming home and was surprised at how much I began to care about the people in the book. Weeks later, I still miss them."
– Danny Hanson, Jamaica, NY


"Just finished The Patience of Rivers and wanted to tell you I thought it was great. I love the character Nick, and, of course, I love the scenes out on the river, especially that final race. But mostly, I think you did a really terrific job evoking that era (I was just graduating college in 1969); the whole feeling that things had shifted, that possibilities were endless, and that something special was happening that the older folks, and the straights didn't understand. ('But something is happening here and you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?' –Bob Dylan, Ballad of a Thin Man)

"It didn't last for long, but that summer of 1969 was special. Your book brings it all back.Great job and congratulations."
– Tom Conuel, Petersham, MA


"Just want to tell you I thoroughly enjoyed THE PATIENCE OF RIVERS. The suspense... I think that's the wrong word... maybe the tension of it, kept me awake reading late for a couple of nights. It wasn't so much a "what's gonna happen next" feeling, it was the general intensity of the characters and the empathy I felt with them... the churning pace of small events, and the accumulation of significant details about the people, the place and the time that kept me turning those pages into the night. Flip, flip. Thanks for the ride. Now excuse me while I go dig up my Hendrix CD."
– Candy Spilner, Cochecton, NY


"You're a fine storyteller! The character development and tale – the tensions that mount with both are engaging. I ache for the grandparents after next year and wish for grandpa's corn to grow and for there to be an audience for his handouts. I even wonder what will become of Miller and his gritty, simple, and oddly honorable life. The tension of things close yet faraway: Felix, Woodstock, the dream of the campground, the relationship between Francis and Kit. And, of course, the river (of which we take our measure in many ways; with markers, canoes, from hilltops, and shorelines)...sometimes raging, sometimes swelling, sometimes calming, full of rocks and sneakers and rapids and swimmers...and yet with a steady stroke, a fine vessel, and a sense of purpose – navigable."
– Geoffrey Marlow, Milwaukee, WI


"I read The Patience of Rivers till 1:30 a.m. I'm really 'IN' the book and loving it. The long passage about making the cedar canoe and then the whole discipline and exhilaration of it when the characters ride the wave is physically VERY EXCITING. The book feels authentic, even tho' I didn't go through that American period. Of course I recognise the landscape, and the dialogue without and within rings true... and the romantic side is very touching."
Judith Pearce, Brooklyn, NY


"I have to tell you how much I enjoyed the Patience of Rivers. Really nice work. Love the elephant dung bit. I went to bed thinking of it and woke up thinking of it – always a good sign!"
– Kay Schuckhart, Narrowsburg, NY


"The cover quote is right, you are a wonderful storyteller, and also an excellent writer, and the story completely captivated and engaged. I was particularly impressed with how descriptive the writing was, especially the river parts. Either you really know about canoeing, or you are one hell of a researcher."
– Sally Rowe, NYC


"I wanted you to know that I ordered your new book through Amazon and am enjoying it so much I ordered your first book as well. I was 16 during the summer of '69 and my father was one of the Wallkill citizens who put the kabash on having the Woodstock Festival in Scotchtown."
– Sherry Svec, Middletown, NY


"Thoroughly enjoyed it. Really good writing. Loved the characters. The observer and participant in Nick was just right and the intensity of feelings comes through. Kit was great too. The cast of characters potrays the local/outsider dynamic very well and the ambience of the Vietnam era and Woodstock came alive. And I was really taken in by the physical setting. Knowing the area and loving it, made it so real for me. A true pleasure reading your work."
– Tom Kappner, NYC


"I finished reading The Patience of Rivers last night. Wow! Bravo! With its language, tone, rock soundtrack and prominent *toking* it brought me back to my own 1969 with all its chaos and excitement. The 'Summer of the Perpetual Buzz' indeed. But the book hits on a much deeper level, related to Nick's hard-won battle to keep his center in the midst of such turbulent and tempting times, and I have never seen it described in fiction quite like that. And I particularly liked Kit. I related to her (as I guess I must, at this stage of the game) and loved her toughness and honesty, her compassion and wisdom beneath the hard-bitten exterior. She is a wonderfully drawn character and I thank you for letting me get to know her. I think she will sometimes be traveling with me as I do my errands and think my little thoughts riding around town. I loved the horses and the campers and Buff and Miller and the Van Voorens and the freaks and Lucas Bliss and the gypsies and Felix and Charlie and the Woodstock that always seemed to be happening out there somewhere. The tension/mystery around the Ted character works well to anchor all the rest of it.

"I also have enormous respect for your depiction of the river in this book, as a force that is more than it appears, one that has a hand in shaping those who live or visit along its length. I have had many conversations with the Delaware standing knee-deep in it or snorkeling around Skinners Falls and I have always had an answer. I have always felt it made me stronger and braver and that its presence makes it easier to carry on. Your description of the canoe race and – more – just the river's presence at the campgrounds, in the town among its population is really fabulous.

"So glad I finally got to read the book. Congratulations – it's a wonderful book. I want to give it to my daughter and say "Here, read this, this is how it was for me."

–Mary Greene, Narrowsburg, NY


"I'm almost 100 pages in, through the description of building the racing canoe and into the flood. This is vivid stuff with a rich and complicated set of relationships between the characters. The details of the era all ring true, although most 18-year-olds – especially those focused on getting out – don't think the surroundings are important enough to pay attention to. What comes through most is the author's affection for the place, time, and circumstances the people find themselves in. I sense great care taken to get it all right."
–David McGahey, Hamilton, MA


"I finished The Patience of Rivers and I want to congratulate you on a job well done. Actually, it doesn't read like a job, more like a labor of love. I read through it much faster than I usually do because I was fascinated and curious to find out what would happen next. I appreciated the surprise departures from expected directions. And while all the writing was solid, not a weak moment, some of the passages were exquisite."
–Allan Rubin, Cochecton, NY


"I best liked the recalled innocence of that time. I felt the insecurities and joys of your protagonist, Nick. And your wonderful sense of environment throughout the book resonates more than merely locates. It's a really fine achievement, a vivid evocation of a time on which we need, especially now, to reflect and celebrate."
– John Robinson, Portsmouth, NH


"I finished The Patience of Rivers about a week ago and I have been meaning to tell you how much I liked it and the world of Delaware Ford. You’ve captured something magical about our part of the world. I think I know and appreciate the river valley, and you, much better since reading your novel.

"As much as I wanted to see Nick go off to college, and spent more time with that sweetie from Montclair, I just didn’t want the book to end. I look forward to reading more about the continuing saga of Delaware Ford."
– Kevin McDonough, Narrowsburg, NY


"Totally loved the book. So dreamy, and such gorgeous characters, and a completely engrossing story. I basically read it in two or three sittings. And of course the chuckle echoes of the original guffaws continue to pop up. I want to know what happened to these people and I have to remind myself that they're not going to be there when I get back upstate."
– Paul Hindes, New York City


"I was just so impressed with the ending lines of chapter 2. What an image! The dim brain of the fish and its perception of a bigger world. Jesus, that's nice. And man, that section in 13 about Kit reminiscing about Ted is so deep. Rubbing down the musculature of the horse. Her history with Ted. These nascent feelings we all have that sit silently deep in us but grow all the same. The human quality that confuses us but powers us."
Mike McCabe, NYC


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