Reviews of The Patience of Rivers

Kaatskill Life
The Patience of Rivers is a highly readable novel that is appealing on many levels. It is part family epic, part coming-of-age saga, and part thriller. It is a visual novel, which could inspire a movie.
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The Towne Crier
“The Patience of Rivers” by Joseph Freda reads like a fabulous daydream. One can imagine cruising in a convertible down the scenic road tracing the path of the wild Upper Delaware River, as wind whips hair, classic rock blares from the radio, and summer sun warms smiling faces.
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The River Reporter
If you have not already gotten your copy of “The Patience of Rivers” (W.W. Norton, 2003), find, beg, borrow, steal or buy one today.
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The Upper Delaware Magazine
In an old Kenoza Lake farmhouse attic, novelist Joseph Freda has made a room to write. Here, Upper Delaware stories are conceived and local personalities, landscapes and climates portrayed. He has furnished his workplace with topographic maps, an old-fashioned typewriter and radio, and a series of piled manuscripts that lay under the weight of collected rocks.
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Sullivan County Democrat
Think "writer," and most folks conjure up the image of the lonely artist at his desk, gazing out the window and waiting for his muse to lay a metaphysical hand upon his pen, so that it can fly across the pages, in flawless, deathless prose. In reality, being a writer is a lot less romantic and a lot more like real work. For proof, look no farther than Kenoza Lake, New York resident Joseph Freda, whose second novel, "The Patience of Rivers," has just been published by Norton.
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National Public Radio WJFF
It's the summer of 1969, the "Summer of the Perpetual Buzz." Joseph Freda's novel "The Patience of Rivers" captures the flavor of the era. Young people grapple with serious issues such as the war in Vietnam and how to make certain decisions that will affect their futures. And of course there's the Woodstock concert, rumored to be coming to nearby Bethel.
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Milford (NH) Cabinet
The strength of "The Patience of Rivers" is not in individual episodes, or even in the skill with which Joseph Freda has woven them into a narrative of intrigue, loyalty – and disloyalty – and of life in a small town... The strength is in his mastery of dialogue, how young people talked, acted, probed each other's bodies and emotions in a time of turbulence.
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Boston Globe
As Freda demonstrated in his first novel, "Suburban Guerrillas," he has an admirable eye for idiosyncratic detail... In ''The Patience of Rivers'' he offers a... compendium of the sights and sounds of 1969...
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National Public Radio WSKG
The year 1969 can be seen as the summit of “the 60s,” a decade that saw social upheaval, disillusionment and danger. The American involvement in the Vietnam War was engendering a national trauma.  ... the pressures and the changes were felt powerfully in the community of Delaware Ford, which was sending its sons to fight in Vietnam at the same time as an event called Woodstock – the biggest rock concert in history, just down the road in Sullivan County, at Max Yasgur’s farm.
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Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record
Joseph Freda's critically acclaimed novel "The Patience of Rivers" is set in the "shimmering" Upper Delaware Valley of Sullivan County. The Vietnam War is raging, astronauts land on the moon, and Woodstock is about to explode. Freda calls it "the Summer of the Perpetual Buzz. It felt like all the rules had been suspended."
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Emerging Writers Network
With "The Patience of Rivers," Joseph Freda has put it all together. The story of the summer of 1969 in the Upper Delaware Valley in New York and the Lauria family captures the setting, place and characters perfectly, vividly drawing a landscape of farms and campgrounds and the river that cuts through it all.
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The River Reporter
"The Patience of Rivers" is a wild ride, a fun read in the very best sense, and it is also... a book to give to our children, the new generation of rebels and dreamers, and say, "Here, here is how it was for me."
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Booklist
Oh, that summer of '69! Eighteen-year-old Nick Lauria works on the family campgrounds as what will be known as Woodstock takes shape on a neighboring farm. All isn't peace, love, understanding, and music for Nick, however...
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Library Journal
...it's the summer of Woodstock. Rumors are flying about the big music festival about to happen not far from town... This is an appealing coming-of-age tale set to a classic rock soundtrack.
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Publishers Weekly
"Freda is an engaging storyteller, and the likeable Nick Lauria anchors this well-paced tale."


Praise for The Patience of Rivers

"Joseph Freda is a remarkably gifted storyteller, and his new book, The Patience of Rivers, reads like vivid testimony – to a particular time, to a special place in the author's heart. It sent me back to that special place in my own."
– Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls, winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize

"The Patience of Rivers is a brilliant novel about an American family, an American community, an American era, that manages to be both keen-eyed and compassionate, as astonishingly accurate in its detail as it is authentic in its emotions, as witty as it is wise. Joseph Freda understands the complex ties of work, blood, ambition and love that bind his characters to one another, to the land, and to the time in which they live. For anyone who came of age in the late Sixties, The Patience of Rivers feels like the novel we've been waiting for, an unforgettable work of fiction that avoids both nostalgia and bitterness, and sounds, at last, like truth. It is a tremendous accomplishment."
– Alice McDermott, National Book Award winning author of Charming Billy

"Joseph Freda's young people are ever so slightly autumnal, and their elders are as vulnerable as their children in this tender, moving novel about the summer when everything changed."
– Frederick Busch, author of The Night Inspector

"This big layered story is a gift. Joseph Freda illuminates 1969, that rich and disturbing year, so generously that we can finally see how innocent we were. The Patience of Rivers brings together the historic events of that summer effortlessly, personally, in a classic rites of passage for Nick Lauria – and his country. This is affecting work about a place we all once knew."
– Ron Carlson, author of At the Jim Bridger


Review excerpts of Suburban Guerrillas

"...immensely winning... Mr. Freda's suburbanites are decent, passionate and reflective people, full of submerged yearnings that they attempt to accommodate in as ethical a manner as their natures will permit."
– Gary Krist, The New York Times Book Review

"It's a masterful metaphor for the dichotomy of modern suburban living, where security and boredom are two sides of the same coin... Suburban Guerrillas reveals the suburbs to be a more varied and complex place than has been generally portrayed."
– David L. Ulin, Newsday

"What gives this book its special charm is not its plot, or the success or failure of the 'guerrillas' mission, but the author's special blend of whimsy and realism, which makes for a very believable portrait of ordinary, real everyday people who manage to pay their mortgages but haven't given up all of their youthful dreams."
– Merle Rubin, The Christian Science Monitor

"The characters in Joseph Freda's first novel are, for the most part, genuinely good. They love their town, love their spouses and do the best they can with what they have. These people believe. Suburban Guerrillas... will leave many readers with an almost old-fashioned sense of faith."
– Erika Taylor, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Urbanites contemplating a move to the country might heed this debut novel, which implies that the suburbs numb the soul.”
Publishers Weekly

"His characters bear the angst of John Updike’s people, the quirkiness of Anne Tyler’s, the crushing sadness of John Cheever’s."
– Paul Grondahl, Albany Times-Union

"Freda delights and surprises the reader... at book’s end, you are moved, nearly to tears, about the way things turn out..."
– John Rowen, Schenectady Gazette

"Freda is a writer of easy wit and empathy, and is so good at seeing and portraying the conflicts that drive his characters."
Boston Book Review

"Freda offers both humor and sympathy for his characters. He's also got a good eye for the rituals of suburbia."
– Linnea Lannon, Detroit Free Press

"... funny, poignant look at overdevelopment. Freda’s prose is fresh, energetic, and compellingly readable... happily reminiscent of John Updike’s early fiction..."
– Carol McCabe, Providence Journal

"This book will make you wonder what goes on across your street in that lovely gray saltbox, or the brick colonial with the neat boxwood hedge. In Freda’s novel, the reader finds comfort in the daily comings and goings on Monadnock Street where a good neighbor is rightly valued. But Freda also articulates well the undertow of sadness that pulls at those same lives, dropping startling clues that point to the subversiveness of human nature."
– Beauvais McCaddon, Tallahassee Democrat

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