Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain
Barney Norris

Book cover image

Narrated By: Christopher Benjamin, Claire Skinner, Hasan Dixon, James Doherty, Joe Jameson, Linda Bassett

Duration: 7 hours and 58 minutes

What to expect

'There exists in all of us a song waiting to be sung which is as heart-stopping and vertiginous as the peak of the cathedral. That is the meaning of this quiet city, where the spire soars into the blue, where rivers and stories weave into one another, where lives intertwine.'

One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower – all facing their own personal disasters. As one of those lives hangs in the balance, the stories of all five unwind, drawn together by connection and coincidence into a web of love, grief, disenchantment and hope that perfectly represents the joys and tragedies of small town life.


Modern & contemporary fiction, Narrative theme: Love & relationships, Narrative theme: Sense of place, Narrative theme: Interior life, Narrative theme: Death, grief, loss

Listen to a sample

Wonderful…I was hooked from the first page. Barney has the real novelist’s ability to inhabit different characters, and to make the texture of life tangible and compelling. Everything he writes about love, loss, grief, desolation, and moments of hope and illumination rings absolutely true. It’s the real stuff.

Michael Frayn

Outstanding...a moving, strangely uplifting novel that grapples with the coarse substance of everyday existence and poetically celebrates its passage. Superb.

Mail on Sunday

Remember the name Barney Norris. He's a new writer in his mid-twenties, but already outstanding.


Looks well beyond the literary intelligentsia’s world, describing with great humanity five ordinary lives, and coming close, as it does so, to being a “state of the nation” novel – albeit one with none of the bombast the term usually implies…deeply affectinga tolerant and insightful debut


Barney Norris is a rare and precious talent...a writer-chronicler to be cherished.