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Once Upon a River

por Diane Setterfield

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

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2,4411636,093 (4)149
Fiction. Romance. Historical Fiction. HTML:From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the "eerie and fascinating" (USA TODAY) The Thirteenth Tale comes a "swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful" (Madeline Miller, internationally bestselling author of Circe) novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious.
On a dark midwinter's night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son's secret liaison stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson's housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone's. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl's identity can be known.

Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, this is "a beguiling tale, full of twists and turns like the river at its heart, and just as rich and intriguing" (M.L. Stedman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans).
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» Ver também 149 menções

Inglês (158)  Espanhol (1)  Todas as línguas (159)
Mostrando 1-5 de 159 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Diane Setterfield draws misty trails across her stories in ways that both obscure and illuminate, challenging her readers to uncover the truth she writes. Her settings are the otherworldly that sit opaquely on top of a solid reality and her characters draw a reader in through fascination and curiousity. She is a master of language. I first encountered her work through The Thirteenth Tale and then in Bellman and Black, the former of which I liked more than the latter, and I bought Once Upon a River several years ago in order to once again immerse myself in her work. And then as is common with books I buy, it languished, unread, on my shelf for literal years, until now, when I picked up this unsettling, dreamy, and immersive fairy tale of a story about the power of storytelling and want and loss.

In 1887, on the evening of the winter Solstice, at The Swan, a rural inn on the banks of the River Thames, as a public room full of people drank and listened to the publican's storytelling, a man three quarters frozen through, and dripping river water, burst into the room carrying the body of a four year old girl and promptly collapsed. The child had drowned and was beyond help but the man could still be saved. Rita, a local nurse, was called to assist with the unconscious man. She saw the body of the child and confirmed to herself by all measures that the small girl was dead, only to then witness the girl come back to life with a gasp. The man who saved her regains consciousness but has no idea who the child is, leading to confusion and speculation. Was she the missing child of the Vaughns, wealthy local landowners whose baby was kidnapped several years before? Was she missing daughter of a thief from a local farming family who disapeared when her mother died by suicide and was last seen being led to the river before her mother's death? Was she the young sister of the parson's cleaning lady? Each of these three possibilities diverge and then come together just as the River Thames and its tributaries meander toward the sea. Each of these missing girl stories is like a tributary of the great river--sometimes taking over and sometimes meandering slowly like a trickle but always weaving inexorably back to the main story. There is a fourth, and supernatural, possibiliy as well. Could this mute child be the daughter of Quietly the boatman who is said to haunt this stretch of the river? Threaded through these larger tales are smaller stories that also flow into the greater story, that of Daunt, the photographer who saved the girl and who finds himself falling in love with his nurse; that of the local farmer, the son of royalty and a Black maid, who has created his own wonderful, much loved family; and that of the solitary, haunted woman who cleans for the parson, keeping quiet about the history of abuse she has suffered and continues to suffer.

The line between the realistic and the supernatural is a thin one and this story straddles it well with its slowly rising tension, its lush descriptions, the ongoing question of the child's identity, and the hypnotic feel of the prose itself. In the person of the reanimated little girl and the various characters' great desire for her to be their missing child, all of the characters are all faced with the secrets and heavy guilt each carries. Setterfield has taken a complex plot, stirred in elements of magical realism, Victorian sensibilities, the hold of superstition, and questions of belonging and identity in this paean to the power and importance of storytelling. The ending of this mesmerizing tale starts to come apart a bit, as if the answer to the question of the child's identity must be hurried along so that all of the other plot threads could be neatly tied up too. Despite this oddly curtailed conclusion after so many pages of slowly heightening the suspense, the story as a whole was an engrossing one that keeps a reader turning the pages hoping for the truth, or at least a satisfying resolution to each of the major and minor story lines. ( )
  whitreidtan | Feb 27, 2024 |
All I can say is I loved this book. ( )
  aefsargent | Feb 6, 2024 |
*3.5 ( )
  Fortunesdearest | Feb 1, 2024 |
Another book from Setterfield that really impressed me. Like 13th Tale, it had the basic ingredients of a good book with strong characters, clever plotting, beautiful language, and a setting that drew you in.

A mystery involving a 19th century small town where a child arrives and is claimed by three different families. The characters draw you into their story. The phrasing isn't poetic, but does elicit thoughts on the world so that you have to stop to re-read a paragraph. Spice it up with an Inn where stories are passed around to find truth along with a little fantastical element with a "death" like character (Quietly) that transports people to different sides of the river.

Read it and you won't be disappointed. ( )
  wvlibrarydude | Jan 14, 2024 |
In the night of the winter solstice, an injured stranger staggers into the Swan at Radcot holding the drowned body of a small child. Shortly after, in the presence of the local nurse, the girl miraculously comes back to life. This momentous event affects everyone present and causes a ripple effect with unforeseen consequences.

This was a story about family, and the love and loss associated with it, and the magic of the art of storytelling, told – most aptly – in the most gorgeous prose. The narrative moves slowly but inexorably forwards, just like the river, with sudden and unexpected currents and turbulences. But it's the characters that drive the action, what there is, forward, and they are wonderful creations, instantly relatable and pictured in the mind's eye.

I wonder what Diane Setterfield's next story will be about – I will certainly check it out. ( )
  passion4reading | Dec 30, 2023 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 159 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
It’s an understatement to say that the river is a character in this novel. It is more a god — powerful, changeable, violent and mysterious.... Setterfield firmly establishes this novel in the Gothic suspense genre for which she’s known, where all things commonplace become strange.....Once Upon a River is concerned with the borderline between science and magic. Changelings, underwater goblins, mermaids and ghosts are credited with causing unexplained events, making this novel feel far enough removed from real life to be a comforting read.

Setterfield is a master of the medium. Like the river at its core, her plot twists and turns with ease and confidence, and her writing is beautiful.The story she tells — and which her characters retell — is as vivid as the old folktales and real histories that inform it.
 
Diane Setterfield haunts familiar ground in “Once Upon a River,” an eerily mystic tale of a mute child who captivates the local townspeople after she’s seemingly brought back from the dead....These characters are finely drawn and wholly sympathetic, their lives rendered in precise, poignant detail. The female characters particularly are gifted with uncommon clarity, each of a different kind. Rita is a woman of science, Helena has strong emotional instincts, Bess is blessed with insight and Lily takes an unflinching view of practical realities.....Though Setterfield writes emotions with marvelous truth and subtlety, her most stunning prose is reserved for evocative descriptions of the natural world, creating an immersive experience made of light, texture, scent and sensation....The novel’s central mysteries are dispatched in one dramatic scene that feels overwrought, especially given that this is not a tightly plotted whodunit so much as a story for those who appreciate the tale’s telling as much as its end — who mark with interest the bends in the river, and who will treasure the friends they bump into along the way.
 
Once Upon a River takes more than a few pages to begin properly, even though it kicks off with a promisingly dramatic event that electrifies the regulars at the Swan, a riverside inn in Oxfordshire renowned for the quality of its storytellers...The novel then diverts its unhurried attention to three plot tributaries of its own. One concerns a prosperous mixed-race farmer with a wayward adult stepson; another, a landowner whose marriage has withered after the kidnapping of his two-year-old daughter; the last, the fearful, half-simple housekeeper for the village parson. Very gradually, the story takes shape around the claim each of these parties makes on the girl...The primary characters are all good people, drawn in bold strokes without much shading; the influence here seems more Dickens than Brontë, albeit without the comic brio..... It cannot be called a page-turner, certainly not in the order of the previous book, yet ultimately it is a success..... Setterfield... serves you bread and cheese, but it is very good bread and cheese, the sort of meal that is often more satisfying than fancier stuff. Once Upon a River is a hearty paean to the Thames and the people who live on or near it, whose stories never truly begin or end, but flow on for ever, to a dimly imagined sea.
 

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Setterfield, Dianeautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Stevenson, JulietNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Along the borders of this world lie others. There are places you can cross. This is one such place.
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To my sisters, Mandy and Paula. I wouldn't be me without you.
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There was once an inn that sat peacefully on the bank of the Thames at Radcot, a day's walk from the source.
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As is well known, when the moon hours lengthen, human beings come adrift from the regularity of their mechanical clocks. They nod at noon, dream in waking hours, open their eyes wide to the pitch-black night. It is a time of magic. And as the borders between night and day stretch to their thinnest, so too do the borders between worlds.
It was better to tell such stories close to the river than in a drawing room. Words accumulate indoors, trapped by walls and ceilings. The weight of what has been said can lie heavily on what might yet be said and suffocate it. By the river the air carries the story on a journey: one sentence drifts away and makes way for the next.
There are stories that may be told aloud, and stories that must be told in whispers, and there are stories that are never told at all.
They were collectors of words the same way so many of the gravel diggers were collectors of fossils. They kept an ear constantly alert for them, the rare, the unusual, the unique.
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Fiction. Romance. Historical Fiction. HTML:From the instant #1 New York Times bestselling author of the "eerie and fascinating" (USA TODAY) The Thirteenth Tale comes a "swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful" (Madeline Miller, internationally bestselling author of Circe) novel about how we explain the world to ourselves, ourselves to others, and the meaning of our lives in a universe that remains impenetrably mysterious.
On a dark midwinter's night in an ancient inn on the river Thames, an extraordinary event takes place. The regulars are telling stories to while away the dark hours, when the door bursts open on a grievously wounded stranger. In his arms is the lifeless body of a small child. Hours later, the girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? Or can science provide an explanation? These questions have many answers, some of them quite dark indeed.

Those who dwell on the river bank apply all their ingenuity to solving the puzzle of the girl who died and lived again, yet as the days pass the mystery only deepens. The child herself is mute and unable to answer the essential questions: Who is she? Where did she come from? And to whom does she belong? But answers proliferate nonetheless.

Three families are keen to claim her. A wealthy young mother knows the girl is her kidnapped daughter, missing for two years. A farming family reeling from the discovery of their son's secret liaison stand ready to welcome their granddaughter. The parson's housekeeper, humble and isolated, sees in the child the image of her younger sister. But the return of a lost child is not without complications and no matter how heartbreaking the past losses, no matter how precious the child herself, this girl cannot be everyone's. Each family has mysteries of its own, and many secrets must be revealed before the girl's identity can be known.

Once Upon a River is a glorious tapestry of a book that combines folklore and science, magic and myth. Suspenseful, romantic, and richly atmospheric, this is "a beguiling tale, full of twists and turns like the river at its heart, and just as rich and intriguing" (M.L. Stedman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans).

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