Reservation Road

John Burnham Schwartz, Author, John Burnham Schwartz, Author Alfred A. Knopf $24 (292p) ISBN 978-0-375-40263-0
""I wasn't rich, but my life was secure. That had always been its fundamental premise,"" observes Ethan Learner, an English professor at a small college in Connecticut. Moments later, his 10-year-old son, Josh, is killed by a hit-and-run driver, inaugurating a novel of terrible beauty that charts the progress of grief with concerto-like precision. For Ethan, his wife, Grace, and their daughter, Emma, Josh becomes both a cold absence and a constant, haunting, unfulfilled promise. For Dwight --the driver who killed Josh--the event stands as more evidence of a significantly flawed life. Dwight is no cartoon villain; with a son, an ex-wife and a history of sudden violence, he's like a lesser Ethan--a poor father who, through incompetence, has killed another man's son. Schwartz structures the book with the tautness of a thriller--Will Ethan find his son's murderer?--but this book quickly becomes much larger than a simple revenge tale. Neither does it become maudlin or forced. Ethan, Grace and Dwight all seem ruined by the boy's death, but, like three drowning people, they keep fighting for air--aided by Schwartz's strong, measured prose and exquisitely chosen metaphors (describing his now-troubled marriage, Ethan says, ""Our house... a wordless, internalized diaspora... a landscape riven with fault lines""). ""I want to tell this right,"" Ethan says several times during the course of the book. The author's first novel, Bicycle Days, gathered solid reviews but modest notice. With this effort, he seems poised to reach a break-out audience. If a story about overwhelming tragedy can be told right, this novel is--telling it with wise observation and abundant humanity. 100,000 first printing; Random House audio; author tour. Agent, Amanda Urban. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/1998
Release date: 08/01/1998
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-09-951318-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-375-70273-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-40310-1
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-0-307-38716-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-5812-2
Hardcover - 456 pages - 978-0-7862-1740-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 367 pages - 978-0-307-38832-2
Open Ebook - 222 pages - 978-0-307-42746-5
Open Ebook - 180 pages - 978-1-78033-518-6
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-3791-4
Paperback - 292 pages - 978-1-78033-458-5
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