Martin Michael Driessen’s Rivers brings together three novella-length dramas set on or alongside bodies of water. In Fleuve Sauvage an alcoholic actor takes a solo canoe trip down the Aisne River in northeastern France in order to sober up before a performance. Pierre and Adèle recounts the generational feud between two Breton families—one Catholic, the other Protestant—whose adjoining land is divided by an ever-shifting stream. Konrad, the gentle hero of Voyage to the Moon, steers logging rafts down Germany’s Main River. A lifelong bachelor, he’s a man of faithful habits, endlessly traversing the same waterway just as, in the evenings, he reads and rereads the same six books by Jules Verne.
Dutch writer Martin Michael Driessen’s novel, Rivers, was published originally in 2016 to critical acclaim, and it won the prestigious ECI Literature Prize. Three novellas weave together, each centered on a particular river ... The three stories span countries and eras—from the 18th to the 20th century—and are connected by the power of water, the moving flow of rivers that can bring life but also take it away. The stories’ power comes from the restraint the writer uses as he seems to hold each and every word hostage until that word can prove its worth. As a result, the slow build of pressure seems more like a rising tide than water bursting from a dam. These stories will make you struggle with ideas as well as plot points. Fascinating work.
Dutch theater director, translator, and writer Driessen scales the depths and sounds of distinct perspectives on several European waterways in this peculiar and alarming set of three stories ... Told from multiple viewpoints as the families unearth past wrongs and regrets, this tale reveals different aspects of the conflict. Driessen’s noteworthy collection displays humanity at its best and worst in relation to the waters his characters depend on for their lives, as we all are sustained by the earth’s rivers and streams.