The River Burns
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Trevor Ferguson, one of Canada’s most acclaimed writers, returns with The River Burns, his long-awaited new novel.
The River Burns tells the story of a small town in crisis, the mistakes people make, and the courage it takes to heal a community after a horrific act of destruction.
Wakefield is a small town where a unique collection of longstanding citizens has lived mostly in harmony, accepting of each other’s foibles. But underneath the picture perfect exterior a battle rages between those who wish to preserve the historic single-lane covered bridge across the river, and the loggers who want it replaced with a modern alternative. As the days pass with no change in the dispute, tensions begin to boil over, friends turn against one another, and the town seethes with potential violence.
Family man and second-generation logger Denny O’Farrell has been leading the charge to modernize the bridge. When the bureaucratic route fails to produce results, Denny and his friends need a new plan of action. But local police officer Ryan O’Farrell, Denny’s brother, is very worried about exactly how much Denny and friends are willing to risk in order to win the war. Swept up into the dispute, lawyer Raine Tara-Anne Cogshill, a newcomer hiding from her big-city past, hasn’t bargained on getting caught up in a summer of violence.
“Ah, Willis, your cops. The ones you’ve been lying to. The ones you’re being sycophantic with. The SQ, asshole.” He swallowed, which she noticed. “Willis,” she began, and let the volume of her voice drop several notches, so that it felt conspiratorial, “you’ve screwed everything up. You are single-handedly going to turn the town against you, and by extension against us and this store. You have just driven us straight into the ditch with your lies and distortions. You never saw anybody burn the
there no reflections on your glass windows? You can identify a man’s features, under a baseball cap, in the dark, through reflective glass, not to mention through trees, at seventy yards? Really? Would you care to repeat that performance, Mr. Howard, you with the eagle eyes, under similar conditions? A controlled experiment, Mr. Howard. We’ll parade people you know on the lip of the old bridge, at night, with scant moonlight—hell, we’ll spot you a full moon—and let’s count how many you can pick
The old mayor finally resorted to virtual profanity. He roared into the microphone set before him on his table, “Everybody, will you just shut the”—he lingered for a breath to give people time to fill in the blank for themselves with the appropriate expletive, then titter, before he finished—“up.” He’d won their attention. The old mayor, a youthful seventy-five, albeit with a widower’s characteristic malaise—spills on his tie, a crumpled shirt, for he’d sloughed off his jacket as the room
was feeling so jumpy inside his skin today he felt like having that smoke. He knew to resist when the urge was strongest. The urge. Strange, that. As if something living inside him craved a different life. Denny shuffled a stone around with his toe and munched an apple pinched from his lunch pail. He looked up as another logging truck, out of sight, geared down for the stop and the protracted wait. He sneaked a deep breath of secondhand smoke. Having shed his jacket, he was now feeling the
glutes.” “You got my dad to exercise.” She might as well have told him he’d agreed to go bungee jumping. “Twisted him up like a pretzel. I warned him. He’ll be sore tonight. Watch. Tomorrow he’ll feel better. He’ll be back for more.” She knew how to keep him dangling on a string, the impending fall over a gorge not unlike the one alongside them. “Of course he’ll go back for more. You’re a beautiful woman! Even if you crippled him, he’d be back for more.” The compliment mixed in with what he