Cover Image: All the Water I've Seen is Running

All the Water I've Seen is Running

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Member Reviews

This was an interesting book. I liked the writing style and I liked the flashbacks through the main character's family history in Jamaica, New York, and down to Florida. I liked aspects of the friendships that lasted past high school. It was a sort of late coming of age story, with the main character coming back to Florida after hearing that his high school girlfriend died in a car crash. He'd been gone seven years and had come out as gay since moving away, and hadn't really talked to any of his friends. He goes back to meet up with them but mainly to try to find out what really happened to Aubrey. There is a lot of violence and sadness in this book, and some of the culminating storylines around what really happened between him and Aubrey in high school felt pretty anticlimactic to me. But, it also addressed the fact that the main character was really flawed and was holding guilt for things he should have let go a long time ago.
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What an absolutely beautiful story. This is a very slow burn, but I promise it is worth the time that it takes. This is a great debut and I can't wait to see what Elias Rodriques puts out next. Definitely an author to have on your radar!
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What happens when you go home again after building a different sort of life elsewhere?  That's what Daniel contemplates after the death of his high school girl friend Aubrey in a car accident.  He breaks up with his boyfriend and leaves Brooklyn for Jacksonville where he meets up with his team mates Des and Twig from when they ran track.  Des's girlfriend Egypt and Aubrey's friend Jess are also along  for this journey as Daniel tries to cope and thinks about confronting Brandon, who was driving the car when Aubrey was killed.  Know that this isn't plot driven at all.  There's some good meditation on otherness, friendship, and finding yourself.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  For fans of literary fiction.
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The premise was intriguing, the story however fell flat. There was too much back and forth and not enough hear and now-don't recommend it at all.
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In his debut novel, ALL THE WATER I’VE SEEN IS RUNNING, Elias Rodriques explores themes of identity and memory. After learning that his best friend, Aubrey, died in a car accident, Daniel breaks up with his boyfriend and travels back to the town where he grew up. Exploring the eastern coast of Florida, he visits friends from school and searches for the cause of his friend’s death.  Daniel is between worlds and can’t seem to find space for himself. He’s the descendants of African’s brought to Jamaica as slaves, Indians who were shipped by the British to the Caribbean when slavery ended, and Lebanese immigrants. Daniel searches the coast for explanations about his friend’s life, and his own.

This book is poetic and moving. While not plot driven, this book is centered around tone, emotion, setting. The waters of Florida are characters themselves in this novel. As the novel progresses, secrets are revealed among friends. The story builds to a reckoning; a local who escaped to New York City and has returned.

Jumping between present day, Daniel recounts aspects of his life in Jamaica, New York City, Florida. He recalls events between his family that he seems to have repressed for years. As he returns to the “Redneck Riviera,” the memories flow back to him, years of abuse and trauma. 

Race and class are also dissected in this novel of black and white characters. All of the friends are poor and lack the opportunity to leave for a better life. Some resent being stuck there, while others have accepted the place as their home.

This book does not have a strong plot, but the mood drives the reader to continue with Daniel’s journey. The author doesn’t use quotation marks which add to the poetic, atmospheric quality of the book. I really enjoyed this novel and thought it was a beautifully written exploration of trauma and identity.
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Bewildered by the recent death of a high school girlfriend and first love, Daniel ends his relationship with his boyfriend and travels from New York to Florida to process complex feelings and reacquaint himself with old friends and enemies.

All The Water I've Seen is Running eloquently captures many of the nuances of young adulthood in the American south, an experience I've always struggled to describe accurately in my own life. The author Rodriques manages to weave together many intricacies of intersectionality through each character and plotline; race, economic class, immigration history, and sexuality come together to make for a compelling novel.

While the pace of this book was slower than others, I think it aligns well with the plot, mood, and setting. "All The Water" captures the beauty of the American south and its people, and I would definitely read something else by this author. 

Note: I received a free ebook copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I liked the idea of this book but wasn't so into reading it. It was an interesting setup: a gay man remembering the girl he almost-but-not-quite dated in high school, going back to the town he escaped from and finding that even though he hid a lot from his high school friends, the relationships were real.

But the implementation was boring. It was full of reminiscences out of chronological order, all about Daniels childhood, his high school years, his mother's childhood, and it was too much for me to keep track of. The book didn't feel like it had a plot until 2/3 of the way through, and the characters didn't feel vivid to me. The lack of quotation marks made it hard to follow, though I acknowledge that I was reading an electronic ARC and other editions may be different.
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This is a very slow, reflective story about our main character, Daniel, dealing with his grief after a high school friend dies. His memories and reflections touch on issues of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and identity. However, at times it did feel like a drag as there was little to no plot.
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