Synopses & Reviews
On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books.
This simple act is at the heart of The Bright Forever, a suspenseful, deeply affecting novel about the choices people make that change their lives forever. Keeping fact, speculation, and contradiction playing off one another as the details unfold, author Lee Martin creates a fast-paced story that is as gripping as it is richly human. His beautiful, clear-eyed prose builds to an extremely nuanced portrayal of the complicated give and take among people struggling to maintain their humanity in the shadow of a loss.
Reminiscent of books such as The Little Friend and The Lovely Bones, but most memorable for its own perceptions and power, The Bright Forever is a compelling and emotional tale about the human need to know even the hardest truth.
"The halting, harrowing narrative of Martin's second novel (after 2001's Quakertown) draws upon multiple voices to piece together a tragedy with its own slippery backstory. On a summer evening in an 'itty-bitty' Indiana town in the 1970s, nine-year-old Katie Mackey rides her bicycle to the library and never comes home. Her father, Junior Mackey, owns the town's glassworks, and to the town's residents the Mackeys are like the Kennedys, envied for their looks, their wealth and their picture-perfect life. Peeling back the layers of his characters, Martin slips easily into their darker, secret lives lives that may harbor clues to Katie's disappearance: Henry Dees, the reclusive math tutor who sometimes lurks in the Mackeys' house; Clare Mains, the widow shunned for remarrying out of loneliness; her galling husband, Raymond R., whose drug binges and blackouts occupy stretches of unaccounted-for time; Katie's parents, freshly tortured by their own tarnished past; and Katie's brother, 17-year-old Gilley, who seizes the chance to gain his father's approval by avenging Katie's death. Rich details and raw emotion mix as Martin, in engaging the human desire to excavate the truth, underscores its complex, elusive nature. Agent, Phyllis Wender. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie. Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the flat plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books. This simple acts at the heart of The Bright Forever, a suspensful, deeply affecting novel that is a compelling mix of fact, speculation, and contradiction that shows the human need to know even the hardest truth. Reminiscent of books such as The Lovely Bones, Mystic River, and Winesburg. Ohio, but most memorable for its own perceptions and power. The Bright Forever is a gripping, fast-paced story that is starling in its revelations.
About the Author
Lee Martin is the award-winning author of the novel Quakertown; the memoirs From Our House, which was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection in 2000, and Turning Bones; and the short story collection The Least You Need to Know. He has won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, a Lawrence Foundation Award, and the Glenna Luschei Prize. He lives in Columbus, Ohio, where he teaches in the creative writing program at The Ohio State University.