Readers who like their lyric prose aromatic with woodsmoke nostalgia will find River Journey just their bundle of birch twigs. Cast in the form of a journal, it recounts a houseboat's trip down the Mississippi some thirty years ago in the midst of the Depression and reads like a youthful manuscript recovered from the author's trunk. Though short on narrative, Jonk's Thoreau-soaked pages are never full. Finding themselves with a heavy shortage of rent cash, Jonk and some friends uild themselves a houseboat out of 88 50-gallon oil drums and some scrap lumber, and take to living on Lake Johanna, Minn. Jonk has cut loose from college to study loafing and writing. When they are served with a warrant against living on the lake, the lads and Jonk's girl decide to attempt a cruise down Old Miss to New Orleans. After moving the boat overland from the lake to the river, they set out on their 1600-mile journey at perhaps the slowest rate of speed ever seen on the river. The setbacks and ironies of inexperience during endless weeks of bumbling travel, destitution and chicken theft eventuate in fairly complete failure. They finally anchor at La Crosse, Wisconsin. A battle against winter floes has a genuine sense of danger about it but the book could stand more naturalism and less nature.