In the Beginning

A short story prequel to the novel Rivers

About The Book

In this short story prequel to Michael Farris Smith’s widely acclaimed novel Rivers (a Best Book of 2013 in BookRiot, Daily Candy, and Hudson Booksellers), a series of catastrophic hurricanes along the Gulf Coast prompts the government to institute “The Line,” a boundary between the coastal region and the rest of the country, effectively creating a lawless no-man’s land without electricity, resources, or basic services.

Those left behind include Aggie, a snake-handling preacher with a questionable past; Bub and Ava, who live in a FEMA trailer held down by cinderblocks; and Cohen, who refuses to evacuate and leave behind the graves of his late wife and child. As all four struggle to survive below The Line, their stories intersect with violent and unexpected consequences.

About The Author

Photograph by Chris Jenkins

Michael Farris Smith has been awarded the Transatlantic Review Award, Brick Streets Press Short Story Award, Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, and the Alabama Arts Council Fellowship Award for Literature. He is a graduate of Mississippi State and the Center for Writers at Southern Miss. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters. Rivers is his first novel.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/ Simon451 (November 4, 2014)
  • Length: 64 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501102547

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Raves and Reviews

“[A] powerfully written apocalyptic tale. . . . While Rivers is already inviting inevitable comparisons to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), Smith’s canvas is broader and the story even more riveting.”

– Booklist

“The kind of book that lifts you up with its mesmerizing language then pulls you under like a riptide. . . . Rivers succeeds as both a stunning work of speculative fiction and a grim forecast of a coming national catastrophe.”

– The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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