The River Queen by Mary Morris

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This story of a middle-aged woman's odyssey down the Mississippi River is a funny, beautifully written, and poignant tale of a journey that transforms a life

In fall 2005 acclaimed travel writer Mary Morris set off down the Mississippi in a battered old houseboat called the River Queen, with two river rats named Tom and Jerry--and a rat terrier, named Samantha Jean, who hated her. It was a time of emotional turmoil for Morris. Her father had just died; her daughter was leaving home; life was changing all around her. It was then she decided to return to the Midwest where she was from, to the river she remembered, where her father had played jazz piano in tiny towns.

Morris describes living like a pirate and surviving a tornado. Because of Katrina, oil prices, and drought, the river was often empty--a ghost river--and Morris experienced it as Joliet and Marquette had four hundred years earlier. As she learned to pilot her beloved River Queen without running aground and made peace with Samantha Jean, Morris got her groove back, reconnecting to her past. More important, she came away with her best book, a bittersweet travel tale told in the very real voice of a smart, sad, funny, gutsy, and absolutely appealing woman.


About Mary Morris

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Mary Morris is the author of Nothing to Declare:  Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone, which was cited by the New York Times as one of the most notable books of 1988; two collections of short stories:  Vanishing Animals, which was awarded the Rome prize by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letter, and The Bus of Dreams, which won the Friends of American Writers Award.  Crossroads, published in 1983, was her first novel.  She resides with her young daughter in New York City.
Published May 3, 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.. 287 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Rambling author Morris (Revenge, 2004, etc.) hires a houseboat and captain to take her down the Mississippi on the trail of Mark Twain and the father she missed.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The River Queen

The New York Times

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Mary Morris’s account of a riverboat journel creates undercurrents that slowly roil the surface.

Apr 29 2007 | Read Full Review of The River Queen

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