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The Boundless River

On sale

4th July 2024

Price: £22

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529424164

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A beautifully imaginative work of non-fiction about the Rhine, from its birth to the present day, told through stories of those who lived along its shores.

In The Boundless River, Mathijs Deen takes the reader into his unique world: the twilight zone between fact and fiction, science and imagination. “If the river is a character, then it must have a birth and a death. Tell me how it came about.” Mathijs Deen asks his table companion, a geologist, on a sunny September day.

The answer that follows is the beginning of a journey that takes the reader from a time long before we spoke of a European continent to the present day, when skippers still see the Rhine as a living being.

From the mighty hippos that grazed the banks millions of years ago to the weary salmon that saw its habitat slowly change, from the primordial girl of Steinheim to the Roman general Corbulo, the young Goethe and the North Sea fisherman Kommer Tanis: Deen tells their stories, in which the Rhine is always present, sometimes as the main character, sometimes as an extra. He shows how the river connects and divides, terrifies, comforts, carries and swallows, since the beginning of time.

Translated by Jane Hedley Prole and Jonathan Reeder

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Het Parool
Deen is an exceptional prose stylist
De Volkskrant
Deen has an impressive historical knowledge that enables him to travel effortlessly through the centuries.
De Morgen
An extraordinary capacity for empathy, a sound style, conscientious research and a flair for succinct details. Each story is a sketch of a life, of a society, of a zeitgeist.
De Volkskrant
Like Geert Mak, he knows how to bring history to life, thanks to his compelling style and his poetic imagination.