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All the Water I've Seen Is Running

A Novel

by Elias Rodriques

All the Water I've Seen Is Running by Elias Rodriques X
All the Water I've Seen Is Running by Elias Rodriques
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  • Susan P. (Mount Vernon, WA)
    A haunting tale of Place, Time and Life
    "All the Water I've Seen is Running" demonstrates the power of Place in our memories and our lives. Daniel has grown up in an environment and ecology where geography and people live with day to day violence, danger, friendships, and love that etches them for life. Daniel comes to grips with his personal story through the loss of a dear friend to a violent death and the love and support of old friends who have grown up and apart over time. It is also a story of continuation as told through family stories filled with complexities and nuances that has shaped each generation where each of Daniel's ancestors is shaped by a river or "water that is always running". I am both captivated and haunted by Daniel's story.
  • Robin B. (Olmsted Falls, OH)
    All the water I have seen
    I enjoyed the book. Characters were developed. Great depth.
  • Rose N. (Saginaw, MI)
    Returning home
    In the ten years since Daniel left the poverty and racism of his north Florida home, he has completed his college degree and is employed as a high school English teacher in NYC. He has not maintained any connection with his former high school friends. However, he is drawn back home when he learns that Aubrey, a special friend, has been killed in a traffic accident.

    Upon his return to Florida Daniel immediately lapses into the jargon and the activities of his former comrades. He begins to realize that what he thought he left forever behind is, and always will be, a large part of his true self.

    As Daniel reunites with his friends, and shares certain secrets with them, we also learn of his biracial ancestry and how this has affected his life as well.

    I enjoyed this novel and was constantly reminded of the fact that, no matter where our life takes us, we are largely composed of our heritage and of our early environs.
  • Linda J. (Urbana, OH)
    Treading Water
    This is a complicated story of a young man who finds out his best friend from high school has been killed in a car accident. He had a "different" relationship with her so during a trip back home to Florida continually examines their relationship and his relationship with the other friends he calls upon to resolve issues that have bothered him/them for years. There are a lot of heavy issues in this book that caused me to examine my own life.
    The author does not use quotation marks which became a problem at times and, for me, slowed down my reading of the text. The timeline flipped from now in NYC, high school days in Florida, and his mother's childhood. Some of the transitions were less than seamless.
    Overall it was an enjoyable read.
  • Antoinette B. (Hilton Head Island, SC)
    A very good book that may not be for everyone.
    Daniel returns home to Palm Coast ,Florida after 7 years to search for the meaning of life or death upon hearing of a high school friend/love's death. The story hinges on how our memories shape us for good or bad and how the friendships of our youth may still define us years later. After time, are our memories factual or our they reconstructions of those times that we have told ourselves so many times that they have become the memories? Whether they actually occurred as we remembered or not, the memories help to define our outlook and may even hold us back from moving forward. Daniel had to 'remember' in order to let go.

    The tale covers much of his youth and reminiscences of his high school years, his friends and his first love. Some of them were tender, some were grief-stricken, some were confused , as those years can be. All of them evoke this place he called home that taught him love but also taught him about poverty, homophobia sexuality and racism. One cannot always go back and apologize for things that they had done, but true friends are not waiting for that apology anyway. Ultimately, he had to learn this.

    The book may be difficult for some to read because of the use of the local dialect and certain word choices. I do feel that if you let yourself flow in to the dialect, it does get easier and gives a more complete understanding of who these young people are. It also touches on racism, homophobia and class distinctions which may upset some people; but, this was or is a real part of being black in the American rural south. I believe that it makes you think and leads to thoughtful discussions that are necessary today. My only difficulty in reading it at the start was that I sometimes lost the thread of who was speaking and had to stop and re-read a passage due to the author's style and lack of quotes or he/she said. I did get used to his writing style after a while.

    I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others but as I stated at the beginning , it may not be for everyone.
  • Sally D. (Jacksonville, FL)
    Good and Bad
    There is no doubt that this author is a very capable writer. Many of his passages are quite lyrical. However when he changes route and goes into the patois of the main character and his buddies it becomes most difficult to understand. It is as if, one is riding along on a smooth running, clear as glass sea and quite suddenly hits a patch of unbelievable choppy, dangerous water. It stops the reader in his/her tracks to sort out what is actually being said. I have to admit I really tried to stick to this story but just could no longer ride the waves.
  • Pamela W. (Piney Flats, TN)
    Mixed Feelings
    Both the main character, Daniel, and I - and perhaps the author - have mixed feelings.
    Throughout most of the book, I kept wanting more from the author. Show me more than a narration of place. Show me the depth of your pain from your relationships with your father and Aubrey.
    As I approached the end of the novel, I reconsidered the author's style. Maybe he couldn't reveal more because Daniel was still exploring. Maybe?
    I did love the metaphor of the title. I also really liked the last chapter. Egypt asked better questions than the guys did. Where's her book?
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