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The settings of Go As a River – Shelley Read

  • Submitted: 2nd July 2023

Rural Colorado of Go As a River

They say you’ve always got to watch out for the quiet ones and this very sentiment applies to this novel. It’s a gentle read at first, a quiet novel that doesn’t shout, just gets on with telling its story. The quietness however is its strength for it builds and wraps you in some of the most immersive and emotional prose I have read for some time. Before the end, I was an emotional wreck to be honest. I had emotions that took me by surprise but more than a week now since I read it and the characters and setting linger still.

BookTrail the locations in Go As a River

The settings of Go As a River - Shelley Read

The journey

We are taken to 1946 rural Colorado and witness a young girl falling in love for the first time. That crysalllis of a story then morphs slowly but surely into a novel that flutters its way in to your heart and  tenderely plays on your emotions at every turn.

This is a journey to discover for yourself. 1930s America provides a landscape for racism and unfairness, ugliness and coming of age ups and downs. What Victoria goes through is nothing short of tragic and heartbreaking, but her voice, her spirit comes across so beautifully that I think we can all learn something from her. She goes through a lot yet despite this, she is one of the most fascinating and inspirational characters I have met for some time.

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The Blue Mesa Resevoir

The novel is set in a small town called Iola which is fictional but it speaks for every place where there were Native Americans and those working on the land. Wilson Moon, the displaced drifter, is a character I shall never ever forget.

Gunnison River

The small town of Iola

The small town of Iola is fictional but it is firmly located in landscape that is clearly evoked in n this novel. The landscape of the Gunnison area and the Gunnison river is wonderfully descriptive and immersvie. The Blue Mesa Reservoir is a sight to behold. This is a very unique and rather strange place. It’s a character in its own right.

BookTrail the locations in Go As a River

“Imagine a town silent, fogotten, decomposing at the bottton of a lake that was once a river. If this makes you wonder whether the joys and pain of a place wash away as the floodwaters rise and swallow, I can tell you they do not. The landscape of oyur youths created us, and we carry them within us, stories by all they gave and stole in who we become.”

Hermits Rest Vista, Colorado

The landscape of Colorado

The chemistry between the two main characters should overcome anything life may care to throw at them. Sadly, reality is a cruel beast. The story weaves its way into your heart and captivates you with heart-breaking and heart-warming realisations.

The mountains and ravines around Iola provide a place to live as well as a place to hide. It affects how we are and who we are.

“The landscapes of our youths create us, and we carry them within us, storied by all they gave and stole, in who we become.”

A slow burning but gut punch of a read and what a journey!


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