For Whom the River Runs is a novel set in a country town in 1954. Peter Devereau is the only child of the newly appointed Shire Secretary, and Aadje Kuiper the son of Dutch immigrants. As outsiders, they face intolerance and brutal rites-of-passage.
The fate of the town’s inhabitants is wedded to the river that flows through its heart. The river’s tranquillity masks a menace that rends the town asunder. The river defines the limits of privilege and has spawned a festering social and political divide.
The novel takes the reader on a romp through a small country town, where chicanery, defiance and humour define the ethos. It is also the story of a small town local government steeped in conservative values, controlled by a small elite.
The two friends, mocked and spurned, find solace in each other’s company. Cameos by a variety of colourful characters are the tint and glaze of Bowater’s tragic and discordant canvas. It is into this troubled setting that the newly appointed Shire Secretary, his wife and young son are inexorably drawn.