Ever After

William Wharton, Author Newmarket Press $22.95 (246p) ISBN 978-1-55704-223-1
Wharton is an award-winning novelist (Birdie; Dad; A Midnight Clear) who six years ago lost his daughter, her husband and their two babies in a multi-car highway crash in Oregon caused by smoke from nearby ``field burning'' that blinded the drivers. In this account, based on his knowledge of the accident and his involvement in the years of legal shenanigans that followed, Wharton writes what is in effect a documentary novel, bringing it all to harrowing life with the skills of a born storyteller. In the first chapters, he writes as daughter Kate, evoking her wandering life, her unhappy first marriage, her meeting in Germany with big, cheerful Bert from Oregon, their homecoming to his native state and the moments right up to the crash. As Will, her father, he recounts his family's vast sorrow--and there are few more wrenching accounts of grief in literature--and his determination, buoyed by a dream of the dead family, to seek redress for their deaths. Hiring an Oregon law firm, he soon runs into a wall of resistance: the field burning is seen as an economic right of the state's grass growers, despite strong local opposition, and soon the lawsuits begin to fly back and forth. Frustrated in his efforts to win a jury trial, surrounded by lawyers and friends who see cash as fair payment for life, Wharton retreats to an elegiac but wonderfully poetic conclusion. His book has the ring of emotional truth even as it reads like a grippingly dramatic novel, and its blend of sorrow and a healing anger has a bracingly cathartic effect. 50,000 first printing; author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-1-55704-296-5
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-55704-843-1
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-227834-0
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