The River by Peter Heller

I’ve never read Heller before, although I read a New York Times book review of one of his previous bestselling novels: The Dog Stars. I remember thinking that the author had that Hemingway thing going on. It was with that expectation that I started reading The River– and I must say the book confirmed my suspicion. Hemingway as he might have been had he stayed in Idaho and become a teacher/novelist.

In any case, The River is a “guy” story – about two bookish but outdoorsy friends, Jack and Wynn, that take a canoe trip on the Maskwa River in northern Canada. What they hope will be an idyllic trip of eating blueberries and gazing at the stars turns into a race to save their lives.

The plot works. The other elements of fiction work too. It did feel a tad formulaic, but that might not bother you. I’d recommend it.