Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Brian Kitely

The River Gods

The River Gods
by Brian Kiteley

E Book
Price: $9.99

Quality Paper
Price: $16.95


Brian Kiteley recently published a book of fiction exercises, The 4 A.M. Breakthrough, a follow-up to his popular book, The 3 A.M. Epiphany. He has also published two other novels, Still Life with Insects and I Know Many Songs, but I Cannot Sing. He has received Guggenheim, Whiting, and NEA fellowships, and had residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Millay, Yaddo, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Four-Way Reader. He studied at Carleton College and at City College of New York (with Donald Barthelme and Grace Paley). Brian Kiteley is at work on a novel set in Crete during the summer of 1988. Frederic Lindsey, in the British newspaper Sunday Telegraph, said of Still Life with Insects, "There is nothing harder in fiction than the creation of a good man. When the writer chooses to couch his narrative in the first person, the task becomes almost impossible. Kiteley makes it work by recognizing that absorption in a science or craftsmanship or art can be a man’s salvation even in societies that least value such disinterestedness. It is possible that Brian Kiteley may not manage anything so perfectly achieved as this first novel."

The River Gods is a novel in fragments, a mix of fact and fiction, in which various inhabitants of the area around what is now Northampton, Massachusetts, from the eleventh century through the 1990s, speak of their lives and of the community, a place haunted by the pervasive melancholy of extinguished desire.

Each of the voices--including a character named Brian Kiteley and his family, the original Native American inhabitants, the actor Richard Burton, Sojourner Truth, Richard Nixon, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jonathan Edwards, and many nameless others--ruminate on a past that is startlingly present and tangible. The main character, though, is the world of Northampton, irrevocably woven into the fabric of Western history, yet still grounded by the everyday concerns of health, money, food, love, and family. It is a novel of voices, the living and the dead, that illuminate the passage of time.