River of Hidden Dreams

3.88 avg rating
( 215 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780449983638: River of Hidden Dreams

"HEARTBREAKING...COMPELLING...The story carries you like a slow, implacable current."
--San Francisco Chronicle
Forty-something Sadie Hunter is a loner. But more than that, she is afraid of not being alone. Ever since her mother and Native American grandmother died together when she was a child, dancing cheek-to-cheek in a saloon in the middle of a violent storm, Sadie hasn't let anyone get too close. Not even Carlos, a passionate Cuban who sees the rich soul that Sadie tries to hide from herself.
Cynical and loveless, she becomes obsessed with learning more about her unacknowledged identity, torn apart by tragic family legends she can't quite believe. And although she tries to fight it, she half suspects that with Carlos's help, she could find the truth of the past, and it could set her free....
"A fluid, fun read--a story of self-discovery told by a woman haunted by female forebears while struggling to learn love....A work of accomplished introspection."
--The Philadelphia Inquirer

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From AudioFile:

Florida cracker Sadie Hunter makes her living chartering her boat to tourists. If she likes the guests, she regales them with stories. Eventually she begins to learn about herself from her own stories. Fowler writes for multiple narrators, so several people tell Sadie's story. Pamela Reed handles cracker voices well. However, Sadie, her mother and grandmother all sound so much alike it's difficult to determine who is speaking. Reni Santoni quietly reads a small part of the story as Sadie's grandfather, Sammy, a gentler man than any of the three women. Fiddle music soothes transitions, but these readers need no help carrying Fowler's plot. D.W.K. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

From Kirkus Reviews:

Fowler (Sugar Cage, 1992) returns to the wilds of Florida in her second novel, using cleverly alternating viewpoints (evident at many section breaks) to weave the lives of three generations of women into a tender and wistful story. Sadie is a middle-aged woman who lives on the small boat that she inherited upon her mother and grandmother's deaths when she was nine years old. Her life has little direction; between tumultuous visits from her passionate Cuban lover, Carlos, she leads wealthy tourists on boating expeditions in the Florida Keys, taking advantage of their captive ears to recount the family tales once told to her by her mulatto mother and her Native American grandmother. After a bumpy start, Fowler settles into a comfortable rhythm that switches back and forth between the story of Sadie's vacillating relationship with Carlos and the stories of Sadie's forebears: tales about her grandmother Mima being kidnapped from the Oklahoma plains; about the illicit affair between Mima and Sadie's grandfather, Mr. Sammy; and about the angry silence between her mother and grandmother that ended only when her grandmother embraced her heritage. Sadie worries that her stories, rooted in imagination and mysticism as much as in memory, are tied only tenuously to reality. Where, she wonders, does history end and fabrication begin? The mummified body of a child that Sadie and Carlos find in the water after a storm prompts them to take action; the two navigate the winding rivers to St. Augustine in search of a suitable place to bury the child's body, and of a way to reconcile Sadie's future with her past. Though Sadie is unaccountably cranky, when she spins a yarn she weaves magic. And while she occasionally leaves little to a reader's own imagination, Fowler's lyrical writing and vivid, poignant portraits surmount her overstatements in this memorable book. -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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