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This Bright Riverby Patrick Somerville
Synopses & Reviews
Lauren Keller had left Wisconsin to become a doctor in Africa, where she excelled in medicine and failed at love. Her broken heart sends her reeling back to her hometown, where she establishes herself as a cashier at the local diner, determined to cut herself off from career, friendship or romance.
Ben Hanson has made some big mistakes in his young life, but he returns to his hometown hoping for a chance to change and leave behind the mess he made. Once back in Wisconsin, he soon learns that he's not the only one with secrets to escape; his family is still fractured, unable to uncover or admit the truth behind his cousin's death a decade earlier.
As Ben tries to unravel the mysteries surrounding his cousin's death, and as Lauren cautiously starts to explore the world outside the diner's door, their paths intersect. Damaged, searching, each could be exactly what the other needs. But secrets and wounds are hard to hide, and harder still to overcome. A compelling family drama, and a sweet and surprising love story, THIS BRIGHT RIVER confirms Patrick Somerville's status as one of the most exciting young writers at work today.
"The ambitious, stylish second novel from Somerville (after The Cradle) is set in the fictitious small town of St. Helens, Wis., and along the Bright River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Ben Hanson, 32, is back home after his release from a white-collar, 'pansy' prison near Portland, Ore., where he served a 14-month sentence for arson. Recovering from heroin and alcohol addiction, he reconciles with his affluent parents and older sister, Haley, and reconnects with a high school friend, Lauren Sheehan, a troubled divorcÃ©e and doctor recently returned to St. Helens. The emotionally damaged pair fall in love; Ben tries to solve his cousin Wayne's mysterious death at the family cabin in Michigan; and Lauren fends off Dr. Will Besco, her wildly possessive ex, who has recently remarried. The ample use of backstory paints Will as an abusive husband, and Wayne as an impulsive addict, both things complicating the quests being undertaken together by Ben and Lauren. Things escalate to a violent climax, and a somewhat rambling wrapup finally reveals all the Hanson family's dark secrets. Agent: Brettne Bloom, Kneerim & Williams. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A compelling story of young love and old secrets
Ben Hanson's aimless life has bottomed out after a series of bad decisions, but an unexpected offer from his father draws him home to Wisconsin. There, he finds his family fractured, still reeling from his cousin's mysterious death a decade earlier.
Lauren Sheehan abandoned her career in medicine after a series of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows — the same small Wisconsin town where she and Ben grew up — hiding from a world that has only brought her heartache.
As Lauren cautiously expands her horizons and Ben tries to unravel his family's dark secrets, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?
A compelling family drama and a surprising love story, This Bright River is the work of a natural storyteller, one whose dark humor and piercing intelligence provide constant, lasting delights.
A compelling story of young love and old secrets
Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a chain of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows-St. Helens, Wisconsin-cut off from career, friendship, and romance.
Ben Hanson's aimless young life has bottomed out after a series of bad decisions, but a surprising offer from his father draws him home for what looks like his final second chance. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier.
As Lauren cautiously expands her horizons and Ben wrestles with his regrets and mistakes, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs? Or the last thing in the world either one can handle?
The weight of secrets, the price of success, and the cost of love all linger at the heart of this surprising, unsettling, deeply satisfying novel. Rich with the dark humor and piercing intelligence that made The Cradle so beloved, This Bright River confirms Somerville's status as one of the most engaging and daring young writers at work today.
About the Author
Patrick Somerville grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and later earned his MFA from Cornell University. He is the author of the story collections Trouble and The Universe in Miniature in Miniature, and the novel The Cradle. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago, where he teaches creative writing at Northwestern University.
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