I haven't read with such urgency and dire need in a long while. Every scene, every sentence is unpredictable, beautifully written, and utterly captivating. Nothing will prepare you for the ending. I think I held my breath for the last 100 pages and then sobbed when I closed the book for the final time. Recommended By Heather A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, a young family from the plains taking a last summer vacation before their daughter begins college. For eighteen-year-old Caitlin, the mountains loom as the ultimate test of her runner’s heart, while her parents hope that so much beauty, so much grandeur, will somehow repair a damaged marriage. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic, as suddenly this family find themselves living the kind of nightmare they’ve only read about in headlines or seen on TV.
As their world comes undone, the Courtlands are drawn into a vortex of dread and recrimination. Why weren’t they more careful? What has happened to their daughter? Is she alive? Will they ever know? Caitlin’s disappearance, all the more devastating for its mystery, is the beginning of the family’s harrowing journey down increasingly divergent and solitary paths until all that continues to bind them together are the questions they can never bring themselves to ask: At what point does a family stop searching? At what point will a girl stop fighting for her life?
Written with a precision that captures every emotion, every moment of fear, as each member of the family searches for answers, Descent is a perfectly crafted thriller that races like an avalanche toward its heart-pounding conclusion, and heralds the arrival of a master storyteller.
"The story unfolds brilliantly, always surprisingly...The magic
of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story; each somehow
enhances the other....Read this astonishing novel." The Washington Post
"A riveting literary thriller of the can’t-stop-turning-the-page, stay-up-all-night variety." Alice LaPlante, author of A Circle of Wives
"Tim Johnston’s high-wire literary thriller...will leave you gasping." Vanity Fair
"Outstanding...The days when you had to choose between a great story and a great piece of writing? Gone." Esquire
About the Author
Tim Johnston is the author of the debut adult novel Descent, the story collection Irish Girl, and the young adult novel Never So Green. Published in 2009, the stories in Irish Girl won an O. Henry Prize, the New Letters Award for Writers, and the Gival Press Short Story Award, while the collection itself won the 2009 Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. In 2005 the title story, “Irish Girl,” was included in the David Sedaris anthology of favorites Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules. Johnston’s stories have also appeared in New England Review, New Letters, the Iowa Review, the Missouri Review, DoubleTake, Best Life Magazine, and Narrative Magazine, among others. He holds degrees from the University of Iowa and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He currently teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Memphis.