"As a teenager, Greer Michaels fled his segregated Southern hometown after uncovering a devastating secret. Now it's 1977. He's returned to care for his dying mother and perhaps come to terms with his past. Bannen, Georgia, is a small town surrounded by pine forests and tobacco fields. A place that should be idyllic except for its unpaved roads and ramshackle houses, its racial tensions and class inequalities. A place where it's dangerous for a young black man to challenge the status quo or make the town's white residents feel uncomfortable. While caring for his mother in her final months, Greer befriends their young neighbor, a bright and bookish fifteen-year-old girl named Ceiley. Like Greer himself when he was younger, Ceiley is an insatiable reader and something of a misfit. She's also exasperated with her pious mother, Esse, who insists that Ceiley was immaculately conceived and has never spoken about the traumatic events that left her pregnant at age eleven. Greer's mother, Elizabeth, has traumatic memories of her own. Gifted with an astonishing voice, she stopped singing years ago, after the death of her one true love, and her son has known her only as a silent, mournful presence. Now, as her illness progresses, Greer seeks closure and reconnection with her, and realizes he needs to do the same with the girl whose life had been intertwined with his before his abrupt departure. But finding her is no easy task. In spare and lyrical prose, As a River moves back and forth in time, evoking the mysterious play of memory as it touches upon bereavement and despair, joy and connection."--Provided by publisher.