Vivid and evocative, this is a moving novel of a unique time and place from one of New Zealand's favourite authors.
The Whanganui River at the turn of the twentieth century is a busy thoroughfare, taking sightseers through the spectacular landscape by paddle steamer and acting as highway for the sparse scatterings of settlements along its twisting length. The people who have made it their home are a diverse collection, from Samuel Blencoe, trying to forget his past life as a convict, to the hoteliers at Pipiriki, the nuns at Jerusalem, the Maori families, the Chinese market gardener and the farmers, like Danny and Stella, trying to tame the wild bush. There's also Bridie, the strange, silent girl, who haunts the banks of the river where the accident occurred that robbed her of her mind. Like the tributaries that trickle down the mountains and join the mighty river, so the lives of these people come together in this vivid and moving tale of a stunningly unique place.