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Book Push Not the River [Paperback] [2004] (Author) James Conroyd Martin


Push Not the River [Paperback] [2004] (Author) James Conroyd Martin

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  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • aa(Author)
  • St. Martin's Griffin; 65511th edition (1994)
  • Unknown
  • 5
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Review Text

  • By Author/Reviewer Geri Ahearn on July 8, 2014

    Award-Winning author, James Conroyd Martin takes the reader into the era of the late eighteenth century Poland in all its glory, of the people, and one nation as he continues a saga of transformation. Anna Maria Berezowska comes forward with enough courage, pride, and strength as she becomes the first woman to attempt democratic reform in a violent society, filled with ancient myths.As the author takes the reader through this sweeping epic, the colorful characters come to life as we witness personal, and political tragedy. Anna Maria's compelling story of remarkable strength for change and reform in modern Europe highlights the Polish soul, tradition, customs, and political beliefs.James Conroyd Martin invites the reader to take a glimpse of dramatic events that shaped the life of a young woman, while history comes alive in a world of castles, romance, intrigue and politics. The engrossing story is thought-provoking as it entertains from beginning to end.The picture-perfect setting of Poland's glorious past shines through the pages, and the unforgettable characters grab your attention immediately in this incredible page-turner, made for the big screen. "PUSH NOT THE RIVER" is as powerfully moving as To kill A Mockingbird, as captivating as Doctor Zhivago, and as dramatic as The Courage To Love. Highly recommended to all those who enjoy captivating historical stories, blended with romance, and inspiration.

  • By wanda on February 12, 2015

    Stiffly written with caricaturish characters is what Publishers Weekly said about this book. Right. Agree. So why all of the 5 stars? Bad taste? Or the author's friends? I don't get it. I'm Polish and I wanted to like this book. I also don't have an uncritical view of anything written about Poland or Poles so let me underscore what the critics said and add my own review. This book disappointed me. I learned very little about the partition of Poland in the eighteenth century that I did not already know, and felt that there could have been more historical detail woven throughout. The author tried, but failed. Good historical fiction should use the fiction and history organically, but there was more of a flavor of a romance novel, than good historical fiction to this book. Despite the fact that this was based on a real live person’s diary, I found the characters not that interesting and rather one dimensional and hackneyed. Think plucky Scarlett O’Hara without the personality flaws. To sum it up, this is the story of a young countess, rather sheltered, who goes from being orphaned in a matter of days, going off to live with relatives, meets the love of her life, is raped, is married off, bullied, brutalized and so forth. The author turns his heroine into a perpetual victim (think the perils of Pauline), the other main female lead into a slut and makes most of the men either brutes, nobles, or bad peasants. It's a very, very low average read, coupled with stereotypes, and I can't honestly understand all of the rave reviews it's gotten.This was actually a best seller in Poland. I can’t imagine. It also got awards from various Polish groups. All I can think of that is that Poles have been treated so shabbily throughout their history, that they will gratefully acknowledge anyone who tries to bring some of their fascinating history to light – especially an American.My own experience with what the average American knows about Poles and Poland comes from listening to nasty Polish jokes. Thus, it may be a worthwhile read for the average U.S. reader (one who actually reads rather than watching reality T.V.) because it presents Poles and Poland in a light that perhaps the average citizen has not thought about.

  • By Dawn of Pendraig on April 7, 2016

    A passionate and courageous woman was Anna. This story is told from her diary that was translated by one of her descendants and then created into historical fiction by a talented author. It has none of the dryness that other such novels often have. Instead we feel the textures, see the faceted jewels and golden light of autumn, blazing greens and blues of summer and the frigid greys and whites of harsh Polish winters. We taste Polish cuisine and see the influence of French nobles in exile fleeing the guillotine and taking their extravagance and often vulgar society to the Polish court. It corrupts some but not most. The Polish are described as welcoming hosts, patriotic and honorable and of course most stubborn. We can see why later Napoleon shamelessly uses the Polish landers and regimens because they were rock solid, dependable, brave and loyal to a fault.I had no idea the pride and beauty of the Polish people. I remember growing up with cruel jokes about their supposed stupidity and stubbornness and I see now how that is mockery by others who little understand such honor themselves.Their loyalty to their Kingdom never wavered despite it being split apart by surrounding foreign nations, forced by Czarina Catherine and others to be dismantled. All because their neighbors feared an uprising of peasants as in France and Poland had dared to embrace the beginning of a Democratic Republic with monarchy in their 3rd of May Constitution. Those nobles who lost in the voting invited her in and destroyed their own because of it.This portrayal is beautiful and speaks from Anna's patriotic Polish heart and soul. That I railed against her suffering at the hands of people she loves and trusts, of her youthful naivete (oh the folly of teenagers). Anna and Zofia are flesh and bone, love and loss, fear and courage. Love them, hate them just as you do real family. Jan Stelniki is a handsome, proud, honorable and intelligent man that has flaws just like men I know and repercussions ensue that effect not just him but his love Anna and their future when he let's his temper free reign.The writing is excellent. I feel I am there. I am immersed in Polish politics and cuisine, in beautiful and ridiculous gowns and wigs of the era. I also get to witness the contrast of their paradoxal lifestyle. On one hand you have libertine and extravagant parties, dining and entertainments and on the other rigid and unforgiving social conservative values. Women must be virginal brides yet flirtatious and beautiful partners at court and out in society. They must be escorted and chaperoned everywhere and yet get handed off to virtual strangers at bedding down ceremonies. No passionate wooing here but instead stiff courtship that values more pleasing her parents and discussing Estate and dowery, rank and family history over love or suitability. We all know from history study how it was back then but we live it with Anna, Zofia and their families. And we see how the customs create the very dangerous situations. It also creates tragedy when a single conversation could solve everything but they are hamstrung with the inability to just speak what you feel to your loved ones.Spoilers..........Zofia is supposed to be our antagonist as much as her adopted brother but I can't help but feel admiration that she dares to grab independence with both hands. I then am disgusted what she does with it especially when her machinations hurt Anna most often but also and Jan and her mother. But she is a Paradox of herself. Definitely mercurial and mysterious. And by the end she had my love too.

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