Revisiting the locale of ‘The River’s Tale’

Michael Virtanen on the upper Hudson River.

Michael Virtanen on the upper Hudson River.

By Phil Brown

Yesterday, Mike Virtanen and I accompanied the state’s chief environmental official down a stretch of the upper Hudson River recently acquired by the state. It was a beautiful trip, remote, pristine, with a mix of flatwater and moderate rapids. You can read about the trip here.

Coincidentally, this stretch of the Hudson is the setting for much of the action of The River’s Tale, Mike’s new novel (his second set in the Adirondacks). The novel’s protagonist, Alison Reade, flees New York City to escape an obsessive and possibly dangerous ex-boyfriend. She goes to the Adirondacks to live with her aunt in a cabin on the Hudson, a domicile that can be reached only by water.

Mike situates the cabin south of Newcomb. He was familiar with this part of the river from one of the choicest assignments in journalism I can think of: he was asked to travel the entire length of the Hudson, from its source in the Adirondacks to New York City, and write about it. On that trip, he also met a river guide who became the inspiration for one of the main characters in the novel.

I took the photo during yesterday’s trip. If you read the article referred to in the first paragraph, you’ll have a chance to watch a short clip of Mike paddling through a rapid. He’s the guy in the stern.