This Bright River

A Novel
By Patrick Somerville (Hardcover Book, 2012)
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.
  • Little, Brown and Company
    • Format: Hardcover Book

    • Price: $24.99 US/$27.99 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780316129312

    • On Sale Date: 06/26/2012

    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Trade Paperback, Electronic Book, Audiobook

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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.

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.

  • THIS BRIGHT RIVER by Patrick Somerville

  • PRAISE FOR THE CRADLE:

    "[A] magical debut novel...A deeply gratifying modern fable...with the light, graceful touch that makes Mr. Somerville, also the author of a short-story collection ("Trouble"), someone to watch. ..As a small novel with unexpectedly wide range, "The Cradle" mixes the profound emotional pull of parent-child connections with comically eccentric touches."
      --- Janet Maslin, New York Times

  • PRAISE FOR THIS BRIGHT RIVER:

    "Serpentine and hypnotic, This Bright River depicts two vivid characters knocked hard by life, on a perilous journey that reveals the weight and pull of family history. The result is a novel that is both intimate and mysterious, harrowing and brave." (author of The End of Everything and Dare Me).

  • "[A] surprisingly tender novel...What matters are Somerville's characters, rendered with such warm appreciation of their complexity and resilience that, although he declines to predict their future, we have every reason to hope they will continue making slow, tentative progress toward healing the wounds of the past."
      --- Wendy Smith, Chicago Tribune

  • "This Bright River is a flood of virtuoso prose and characterization. Mystery, memory, pain, and a courageous strand of love are interwoven in a riveting narrative of voices, all singing, all merging into the singular vision of one of American literature's young masters." ( Nic Pizzolatto, author of Galveston).

  • "[A] marvelous debut...a road narrative that gradually accumulates the mythic echoes and dreamlike inevitability of allegory. Matt's search for the cradle takes on a picaresque nobility; he's like a blue-collar Odysseus, crisscrossing the Midwest in his quest to return home to his Penelope. What gives "The Cradle" its potent emotional resonance, however, is the way Somerville's prose calmly, relentlessly pulls at the Gothic skein of family tragedies that lurks behind the peeling paint and sagging porches, where a sense of inherited sin settles like a thick fog."
      --- Michael Lindgren, Washington Post

  • "This Bright River is nothing short of extraordinary. Somerville has a gift for writing gorgeous prose, complete with sharp humor and a perfect sense of place. But that's only half the story. There's also a great romance here and a shocking set of mysteries that get untangled along the way. Addictive, amazing, unforgettable." (J. Courtney Sullivan, bestselling author of Maine).

  • PRAISE FOR THE CRADLE:

    "[A] magical debut novel...A deeply gratifying modern fable...with the light, graceful touch that makes Mr. Somerville, also the author of a short-story collection ("Trouble"), someone to watch. ..As a small novel with unexpectedly wide range, "The Cradle" mixes the profound emotional pull of parent-child connections with comically eccentric touches."
    (New York Times).

  • PRAISE FOR THE UNIVERSE IN MINIATURE IN MINIATURE:

    "Wide-ranging yet wonderfully authentic narrators...Somerville's originality shines...These densely layered tales invite multiple readings, but even a glance uncovers profound human connection beneath Somerville's often whimsical surface." (Publishers Weekly).

  • "[A] surprisingly tender novel...What matters are Somerville's characters, rendered with such warm appreciation of their complexity and resilience that, although he declines to predict their future, we have every reason to hope they will continue making slow, tentative progress toward healing the wounds of the past."
    (Chicago Tribune).

  • "Somerville returns to the short story and unleashes the full force of his mischievous imagination. [An] inventive and robust collection." (Booklist).

  • "[A] marvelous debut...a road narrative that gradually accumulates the mythic echoes and dreamlike inevitability of allegory. Matt's search for the cradle takes on a picaresque nobility; he's like a blue-collar Odysseus, crisscrossing the Midwest in his quest to return home to his Penelope. What gives "The Cradle" its potent emotional resonance, however, is the way Somerville's prose calmly, relentlessly pulls at the Gothic skein of family tragedies that lurks behind the peeling paint and sagging porches, where a sense of inherited sin settles like a thick fog."
    (Washington Post).

  • "Somerville has vast talent for invention and a flair for writing in a variety of voices." (Joseph Peschel, Boston Globe).

  • Each paragraph has at least one striking or hilarious line. Every few pages manage to bear the full weight of a short story. Dialogue snaps with a bizarre aptness reminiscent of Denis Johnson, and the novel in total presents a coiled, deeply sensitive intelligence....Go buy this book. (The Daily Beast).

  • "With unflagging humor and an emphasis on how we are all in the same, utterly human situation, Somerville keeps the stories from creeping into despondency. It's as though he's both the creator of your pensive mood, and the friend who pulls the improbably silly antics that manage to make you smile in spite of it." (Kim Hedges, Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

  • If there's a middle ground between the pot-boiling, page-turning mystery and the novel of Big Ideas, Patrick Somerville has found it. "This Bright River," his second novel, is a serious literary tragedy of errors that also tells a gripping story....  The extent of Somerville's control over his narrative becomes apparent when the novel's back stories and present goings-on finally converge at that cabin in the wilderness. The slow revelation of a host of family secrets is handled so deftly you won't even mind getting sand in your Kindle. (The New York Times Book Review).

Formats

Product Details

This Bright River
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $24.99 US/$27.99 CAN
  • Pages: 464
  • Physical Dimensions: 5-1/2" x 8-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316129312
  • On Sale Date: 06/26/2012
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