The Bully of Order

Brian Hart. Harper, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-229774-7
Hart's brilliant second novel (after Then Came the Evening) takes place in the rainy, filthy, raucous American Northwest during the lawless logging days of the late 19th century. Into Harbor, a muddy, mythological town somewhere on the coast of Washington state, sails a bogus doctor named Jacob Ellstrom, whose quackery gets him into big trouble. After a deadly botched childbirth, Ellstrom is forced to flee, leaving behind his wife, Nell, and young son, Duncan, who take up residence with the new doctor, Milo Haslett, just about the only civilized man in town. Jacob's malevolent brother, Matius, appears, claiming the Ellstrom homestead, and tragedy ensues when Jacob returns. Harbor is ruled by the outlaw union boss Bellhouse and his sidekick Tartan, whose violent means to every end leave no one outside their ruinous wake, especially Duncan, who grows up to be a hoodlum like every other man in town, except for his one saving grace: he is in love with the mill owner's daughter, Teresa. In alternating chapters each character advances the story from his own perspective as the unruly community rushes drunkenly, calamitously into the 20th century. Hart's prose is dense and lyrically savage. Agent: Bill Clegg, WME Entertainment. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-06-229776-1
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-06-229775-4
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