Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Sheri Joseph

Second Advisor

John Holman

Third Advisor

Beth Gylys


In this novel, Joni invites her long-time friend Ray to paddle the remote whitewater river that runs through North Carolina’s Stillwell Gorge, to reconnect after the demands of family life have replaced the kayaking adventures of their twenties and weakened their bond. Though Joni and Ray’s friendship formed on such boating trips, this river’s unexpectedly flooded water levels, caused by climate change, stress their dynamic and reveal a toxic core to how they relate and interact. Early mistakes delay their progress and force them to spend a night on the river, where they encounter another boating friend whose rebellious nature inspires Joni’s recklessness and deepens the divide between her and Ray. In the morning, they discover that Ray’s stalker ex has joined them in the Gorge. In order to survive, as he follows them into the river’s final and most dangerous section called The Narrows, they will need to find new ways to be, both as individual women and with each other.


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Available for download on Tuesday, July 21, 2099