Read Down in the River by Ryan Blacketter Online


After the death of his sixteen-year-old twin sister, Lyle Rettew moves from the mountains of Idaho to Eugene, Oregon. His religious, well-intentioned older brother has forbidden any mention of her name. But Lyle, fighting to keep his memory of her alive, has quit taking the lithium that numbs his mind, and openly rebels against his mother and brother for the first time. TaAfter the death of his sixteen-year-old twin sister, Lyle Rettew moves from the mountains of Idaho to Eugene, Oregon. His religious, well-intentioned older brother has forbidden any mention of her name. But Lyle, fighting to keep his memory of her alive, has quit taking the lithium that numbs his mind, and openly rebels against his mother and brother for the first time. Taking his mourning out of the house, he embarks upon a fraught pilgrimage that is at once heartbreaking and macabre. Dark though it may be, Lyle's fevered journey along the margins of youth culture is ultimately driven by fierce love and a deep, instinctive need to find a liturgy for loss and grief....

Title : Down in the River
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781625640376
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 216 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Down in the River Reviews

  • Leonard
    2019-03-23 18:42

    First the disclaimer, that Ryan Blacketter is an acquaintenance/friend who used to attend the same church I attend, and I once was his student with others in a writing class he taught. This is his first novel and I certainly hope he'll soon have another published. I sat down to start reading this late one evening, planning to read for a few minutes before going to bed, but couldn't put it down and finished it at about 4:00 am. It's a very satisfying read.This book belongs on the shelf with the other best novels I've read so far this year. That includes "Blindness" by Jose Saramago, "See the Child" by David Bergen, "Irma Voth" by Miriam Toews, "Sanctuary" by William Faulkner, and "The Cat's Table" by Michael Ondaatje. "Down in the River" is a novel with unusual characters. It manages to be both subtle and somber, yet without being gloomy. One review I read said that if gifts were given at Halloween, this would be a great Halloween gift. Actually it would be a great gift any time. But the Halloween analogy is not entirely correct. It's not like, Halloween 'spooky:" it's much more profound than any usual Halloween gift could be. The characters in "Down in the River" come from troubled families and live in dark times. The mood is established by the frequent rainfall, the darkness of night in which much of the action takes place, the vivid description of the most unusual character in the novel, and the lonely whistle of distant freight trains. The question is raised as to whether anyone is actually driving the trains. Like all great novels this one has a road trip, in what is familiar territory for me, Oregon and Idaho. I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of "Down in the River" and come along on the trip.

  • Spike
    2019-03-07 23:47

    Stunningly good. Lyle Rettew will break your heart. Despite his shocking acts, this troubled boy is truly one of the most moral characters I've encountered in all of my reading life. Even as we witness the train wreck of his misguided actions, we can't help but root for him. Speaking of trains, they are mentioned throughout the story, almost as part of the landscape itself. And Lyle wryly observes "something's going on...there's nobody driving these trains.":"A trio of headlamps approached and the engine came into view, the tall plow peaked at its center like a falcon nose..."But a train is a river and these rivers sweep past us all, mindless but powerful, heedless of their intent because they have none. And these trains and rivers will take us along whether we are willing or not, sometimes for the good, and in Lyle's case not so much.The scene where Lyle commits his heinous act is chillingly executed, as good as anything the best horror writers have ever put to page for the making-your-skin-crawl factor.The pacing is precisely executed, matching Lyle's frantic, jagged state. When sleep is needed, sleep doesn't come. Peace is an elusive thing, and Lyle's mental illness allows him to stare this reality in the face. Most of us hide from this truth; we escape into work and food and TV, into rooting for our favorite sports team, while the driverless trains and mindless rivers sweep us away. But not Lyle--he goes for it, if not for himself, then for his dead sister or her surrogate.Does he find peace in the end? You will have to decide for yourself. I can still see Lyle out there, running from the trains. And even though I know they will catch him eventually, I want to believe they never will.I highly recommend this one.

  • Wayne Harrison
    2019-03-18 22:41

    I was completely enthralled by this haunting, page-turning novel. The disturbing events, the evocative landscape, and the chaos of mental disorder self-medicated by drugs and rebellion are all rendered in humanizing, beautifully-rendered realism. It's an awesome feat to make such a dark and frenzied journey accessible and even understandable. Lyle Rettew, the steadfast protagonist, is the product of tragic loss (how much more profound does loss get than the death of a twin?) and the betrayal of a sanctimonious brother, a hypocritical religious community and tentative friendships. A desperate act pushes him to the fringes of his gray northwest city, but his heart is resolute, driven by an abiding compassion for the defenseless that we also feel as the author's compassion for his characters. While Lyle's crimes maybe crimes in the narrow and cold judgment of society, he is driven by a higher law that yearns for justice in a complicated world. Authentic in every luxuriant detail, and showcasing the author's gift for compelling dialogue, this is a novel that takes the big risks and pulls them off with vigor.

  • Dade Cariaga
    2019-02-26 23:47

    See my review at:

  • Sam Slaughter
    2019-03-07 22:50

    2.75. I had a hard time with the disjointed dialogue and many of the seeming slips in reality/how characters tended to not react to things they should've.

  • Ryan Blacketter
    2019-03-02 01:51

    Bipolar books group: Here's my novel about a kid with bipolar, who commits a publicly misunderstood crime. Would love to chat: books/authors/readers/similar experiences.

  • Jane
    2019-02-23 22:03

    Wonderful book. Very dark but funny too here and there. I found it kind of light despite the serious subject and full of depth at the same time, going back and forth like that in the narrative. The main character is a sweet kid, kind of wack yeah, but I liked the ride.

  • Horea Scalat
    2019-02-24 18:58

    I rarely write reviews for the books I read, I mostly just rate them and move on. So, in itself, the fact that I do so now should count for something.It should also explain why this review might come across as a bit awkward.To say that this book deals with dark and at times uncomfortable themes would be something of an understatement. Without giving away too much, this is a book about regret, about loss and the way it affects people. About youthful idealism and rebellion. About acting on impulse and having to deal with the consequences. About duplicity, intolerance - mostly of the religious kind-, urban decay, moral decay, drug abuse and familial abuse.It's also about friendship, sacrifice and about love. It's about all these things and none of them.It deals with deep issues while avoiding cliches and without ever getting, for lack of a better word, preachy. If you're looking for definitive moral edicts, there are none. Without them being amoral, none of the characters or their motivations are truly beyond questioning.There is no sugarcoating to any of it, in fact it's bitter and hard to swallow at times, and therein lies that which makes it a great read.It feels real and because of that, it draws you in from the first page and never lets go of you.Which is why I'm here now, writing this review and why I'm recommending this book to anyone willing to listen.

  • Peter
    2019-03-11 22:34

    Perhaps it was how young the characters were, perhaps it was their constantly shifting decisions, or perhaps it was how they seemed blindingly self-centered, but I couldn't get into this novel. Oddly enough, the basic plot of the story--the stealing of a corpse and then being on the run--was creative and engaging, and it allowed for a lot of potential thematic development, but I couldn't engage the story on a character level. Again, the development of the setting was terrific and perhaps the novel's strength, but this wasn't enough to get me "into it."I might also chalk up my frustration reading this book to the characters' drug use, not in the sense that I prudishly didn't want to read about it or that I morally disagreed with their choices, but rather my problem was that there seemed to be no consistency to the mental states of the characters and therefore I couldn't follow character development or change--and there did seem to be real change. Perhaps I missed something. None of us are perfect readers, and I know I'm sure as heck not. P.S. I really enjoyed the novel's subtle and complex dealings with religion and religious themes. There was nothing preachy about; there was nothing even straightforward about it. But it added an important and almost metaphysical layer to the novel.