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The Patience of Rivers: A Novel

“Joseph Freda is a remarkably gifted storyteller.” ―Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls An irresistible novel about an upstate New York river community and a never-to-be-forgotten summer of change. It's the summer of 1969, and it feels like the rules have been suspended. The Woodstock festival is revving up at a neighbor's farm, the rock-and-roll culture is in full swing, astronauts are landing on the moon, and young men make plans to go to college . . . or to war. As eighteen-year-old Nick Lauria works the family campgrounds and leads canoe trips on the Delaware River, he feels the sting of first love and the fear-turned-pain of his friend's letters from Vietnam. His parents, meanwhile, struggle to keep the family business-and themselves-intact against the blandishments and secret dealings of their business partner. This is a novel of events on the verge. By turns boisterous and tender, sprawling and deeply familiar, its center is a world of young people growing up, a family falling apart, and a sun-dappled town in its final years before development arrives.

Important places

Woodstock (16)


Ulster (36)


New Jersey (1,469)
New York (9,763)


United States (64,950)

Other geographical areas

Allegheny Plateau (173)
Appalachian Mountains (1,111)