The River at Night: 09/14/18
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik is a thriller / horror set in the wild lands of Maine. Four women decide at last minute to take a river rafting trip with a hot guide that they've done minimal research on. Everything goes down hill from there until they are left to survive on their own.
I read this book in the early days of sorting out my road narrative spectrum. I was specifically looking for novels about marginalized people having adventures through wild lands and going off road to do it. A river rafting adventure that becomes a tale of survival seemed like a perfect fit.
In away, it is, in that it follows every trope like a paint by number. We have the four women suddenly deciding to leave the "safety" of the city for an off road adventure. There is the single man to protect them who very quickly fails and dies in the process because of his own stupidity. To make the threat of traveling with out male protection, the river has to take them to somewhere even more dangerous than itself — namely nearly feral people living in the wilderness.
These women are actually fairly privileged. They are successful. They have the money and time to spare do this trip. But they see themselves as marginalized — or at least, at risk while traveling. As the author herself is fairly privileged (being white and successful) their perceived danger at the start of the novel is just that, a perception of white fragility. That their concerns are rewarded by everything possible going wrong over the course of the trip is there to justify the perception but results in a very unsatisfying read.