A River So Long

A River So Long

Vallie Lynn Watson

"A lean and dirty dance through the unhooked lives of its characters..." "Vallie Lynn Watson is the natural heir of Jean Rhys."


Vallie Lynn Watson's debut novel follows thirty-something Veronica as she jolts between five-star hotels in New Orleans, New York, and the North Carolina coast. Veronica's business keeps her on the move, and further strains her relationships with the already unsuitable men she's met along the way, not to mention her blink-and-you-miss-him husband.

A River So Long, like Veronica's life, is a fragmented conflation of time, place, and people-she's a gypsy, and the world she inhabits is, if not blurry, at least kaleidoscopic. This remarkable novel reads like Jean Rhys run over by the twenty-first century-a rushing, threatening, constantly changing scene with a tumultuous, multiplying cast.

"In this episodic debut novel, which captures with pinpoint accuracy the disconnected nature of modern life, thirtysomething Veronica travels the country, staying in interchangeable hotel rooms as she sets up remote offices for her business. Using kaleidoscopic imagery and short chapters to reflect Veronica's fractured existence, Watson weds style, structure, and theme in this painful glimpse of the struggle to connect." -Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

"A RIVER SO LONG is a lean and dirty dance through the unhooked lives of its characters, young people with jobs and cares and relationships about which they seem to know next to nothing. Desperately disconnected, they nevertheless keep trying to find each other in the mess of contemporary American life. A splendid almost documentary rendering of the way things go these days." -Fredrick Barthelme, author of WAVELAND, CHROMA and MOON DELUXE

"A RIVER SO LONG is an impressive if distrubing novel, masterfully blending content and form. The minimalist style and disjointed narrative accurately mirror the loneliness and emptiness that all too oftern characterize contemporary life. Everyone these days knows a Veronica, but few writers have presented her with such vivid realism and pathos as Watson." -Robert Hamblin, Director of the Center for Faulkner Studies and author of MIND GAP, CROSSROADS, and more.

"Vallie Lynn Watson is the natural heir of Jean Rhys. Like Rhys's unattached, highly sentient women, Watson's Veronica is a true transient - someone who lives in midair, in various tall hotels, whose windows - in Watson's gorgeously spare language - show us cities shimmering with inhuman beauty, the rooftops and barge-spliced rivers that are Veronica's only homeland. We follow her passage through the end of a marriage and through numerous attachments, both brief and enduring, with curiosity, fear, and abiding fascination."
- Angela Ball, winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize and author of several volumes of poetry, including "Night Clerk at the Hotel of Both Worlds" and "Quartet"

"This book had moments of humor, sadness, confusion and sorrow. A River So Long was a beautifully written tale, and show cased just how messed up and blurry life can get. It gripped me from the very beginning, and while it wasn’t the bed of roses I wanted to remember about my past, it was a very poignant tale that hit very close to home. I’ve loved every book I’ve read published by Luminis, and really can’t wait until the next one comes along."
Naimeless Blog

"After reading several far more ‘traditionally’ styled novels of late, the non-linear plotting of this story demanded my attention and engagement early, and never quite let go. Vallie Lynn Watson has a style that speaks clearly as we are presented with Veronica: a woman, who seems to want change, yet is utterly incapable of seeing the world through any eyes but her own." - I am, Indeed

"A thought-provoking tale, A River So Long immerses us in the hectic life of a character named Veronica. The story flits through different time frames, giving us a glimpse into who and what she is. We get to see her opened up completely as she struggles through her daily life. Vallie has given us a refreshing tale where despite the adversities the main character finds herself in, she finally makes the effort to do what she believes in." - Lissette E. Manning

DOWNLOADSDiscussion Guide
Discussion questions for readers of A RIVER SO LONG.
How I Came to Write the Book
Author Vallie Lynn Watson discusses the process of writing A RIVER SO LONG.
Vallie Lynn Watson radio interview
Radio interview with Vallie Lynn Watson about her novel, "A River So Long."

Vallie Lynn Watson's work has appeared widely in magazines such as PANK, Metazen, Moon Milk Review, Frigg, Ghoti, Nano Fiction, and elsewhere. She is an editor at Blip Magazine, formerly Mississippi Review. Watson received her doctorate at the Center for Writers, the University of Southern Mississippi, and teaches creative writing at Southeast Missouri State University.

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Paperback978-1935462606 $17.95
ImprintLuminis Books
Publication Date2012-06-15
Publication StatusIn Print
Trim Size5.5 x 8
Page Count180

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