The Same River Twice
Published by Atheneum, 1982
How to Get This Book
A young woman stands at a crossroad: her father has recently died; she has left her husband; and more, recently, her lover has left her. Traveling east with her young daughter, she stops off to visit old friends and relatives, each of whom reflects a different facet of her own life. Having still to come to terms with past losses, Nikki is not yet prepared to face her future. Her trip is a kind of hiatus, a time during which no irrevocable decisions need be made, a time to consolidate and clarify. Each of the people she meets, each new situation, triggers a memory, reveals the past in a new light, prods a reassessment so that the novel becomes a tapestry of association whose design gains depth and richness as each new color is laid in. Finally, reader and narrator together come to see the pattern complete, to understand its meaning and so to be able to move on.
Excerpt (page 31 - 32)
This is my earliest memory of life, but I am too young then, to know how to remember it. It is early summer and I came when the leaves on the mulberry tree over my head came into being as well. I do not know they are leaves, I do not know that it is their undersides that I see as I look up. Nor do I know that I will outlive the leaves and the tree that bears them. That the tree will be hit by lightening, will split, will die from its leaves down through its branches, through its trunk, down to its roots.
There is mosquito netting bunched at the top of my bassinet. My father has pushed back the hood of the bassinet, pushed back the netting. He is watching me with such intensity no insect would dare to interfere. He extends a finger and I take it in my fist. His face seems as large as the sky. My father is talking to me, telling me endless stories about myself and about where I am, but he does not know his voice has no more meaning for me than the sound of the river moving through the ground, than the long full whistle of the cardinal who's settled in the mulberry tree, one red spot, which stays until he pushes off.
Everything in that memory belongs to me. Does it matter that I understand none of it? All of me is: see, hear, feel. Then, believing all to be good, believing all will continue to be so, my eyes close to seeing, my ears ignore hearing, my body ignores feeling-and I sleep.
How to Get this Book
Although The Same River Twice is no longer in print, a limited number of autographed copies are available (at the original cover price) through Amazon.com.
††††††††† The Same River Twice is intelligent and graceful, often moving, a book that walks with poise through the mined fields of contemporary marriage, of motherhood and, not least, daughterhood.† Corinne Demas Bliss in not flamboyant, she is something far more valuable than that:† honest, funny and gravely optimistic in spite of all.
††††††††† A haunting book, full of limpid prose.
††††††††† Iíve read The Same River Twice with pleasure.† It is a strong handling of highly charged material.† Corinne Blissís control of time and place show her to be a fine novelist.† Sheís precise and witty when she should be and genuinely thoughtful in order that we may know and feel her charactersí endurance.
The Same River Twice is the story of half the people I know.† Corinne Bliss writes with a fine eye for the large and small hurts of our daily lives, and for the redeeming laughter and warmth, too.† A wonderful book.
This lovely, reflective first novel concerns a woman whose life is changing.† Three men trigger the changes in Nikkiís life:† her father, her husband, her lover.† ďThe Same River TwiceĒ† tells of a journey:† of Nikkiís trip East with her child Aurea and of an interior journey prompted by brief visits to close ties as she drives across the country. It is, of course, the interior journey that is the heart of the book.† Each encounter with friends or family touches off recollections of a past that must be put to rest before the future can be faced, a future that Nikki eventually believes has its own magic.† Bliss . . . captures the inner world of a woman in transition with perception and sensitivity.† The result is a bittersweet fiction of uncommon discovery that intermingles yesterday and today and, by the mingling, sets the course for tomorrow.
A reflective, graceful story of a woman journeying East with her child after her lover has abandoned her. The Same River Twice also gives an affecting portrait of Greek-American family life. An unheralded novel that is better than many of those currently riding high on the best seller lists.
Gannett News Service
The writing is vivid, and the descriptions of Greek-American family life are excellent.
This first novel is one of the sexiest books Iíve read. There are no purple-passion love scenes, nor cheap thrills.† Instead, thereís the ache of just letting phone ring and ring, as the man youíve loved doesnít answer. . . the receiver among your pillows, his line still ringing.† Or a description of the sweet sorrow of making love, one more time for old timeís sake, or of sleeping alone, trying to remember how your loverís body felt against yours so you can lull yourself to sleep.
This isnít a conventional novel with a slap-dash plot.† Instead, itís an evocative and reflective chronicle. . . resonant with the complications of modern relationships.† Itís a thinking-womanís romance.
. . . a quiet story of simple truths. Indeed, its greatest impact is more stylistic than contextual.† . . never hackneyed and never devoid of interest.† A first-novelist to watch.
The shift from short stories to novel is managed with grace by this writer. . . the characters are individual and fascinating seen with a reflective but penetrating and often satiric gaze. . . a highly satisfying first novel.
. . . a rich and sensitive story, beautifully written.
The Anniston Star
Like the river, figured so predominantly throughout the book, the story flows to a satisfying ending.
An ambitious and compelling novel.
Bliss is quick, bright, literary and skillful. Her (heroine) Nikki engages us with her sense of humor, her pluck, her ironic view of human frailty, her ability to see and to assess. . . Fresh waters flow in The Same River Twice.††