Sunday, March 28, 2010

And Then Came the Evening by Brian Hart

Book description:
Bandy Dorner, home from Vietnam, awakes with his car mired in a canal, his cabin reduced to ashes, and his pregnant wife preparing to leave town with her lover. Within moments, a cop lies bleeding on the road.

Eighteen years later, Bandy is released from prison. His parents are gone, but on the derelict family ranch, Bandy faces a different reunion. Tracy, his now teenaged son, has come to claim the father he’s never known. Iona, Bandy’s ex-wife, has returned on the heels of her son. All three are damaged, hardened, haunted. But warily, desperately, they move in a slow dance around each other, trying to piece back together a family that never was; trying to discover if they belong together at all.

This dark family drama is a riveting read I found hard to put down. The bleak landscape, so well-drawn, provides the perfect backdrop for the story of Bandy, Tracy, and Iona. Reading this book, I couldn't help but reflect on how if put me in mind of No Country for Old Men- it has that same deftly rendered cinematic feel to the background. I was surprised by how invested I felt in these characters, whose lives are far outside my realm of experience. I was sorry when the book ended, because despite that lack of personal connection, I was drawn into the world Hart created. I certainly hope to read more by this talented author in the future.

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