(((EBOOK))) ☟ This Bright River ☠ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

I m not totally sure this sounds like my kind of book, but holy crap, check out this crazy story The book was given a pretty damning review in the Times, but it became immediately apparent that the critic had misread an early scene, and therefore wrongly interpreted the entire plot Another person from the Times then reached out to the author to verify this mistake via a fake email address set up for one of the book s characters They all the Times person, the author, and the character worked t I m not totally sure this sounds like my kind of book, but holy crap, check out this crazy story The book was given a pretty damning review in the Times, but it became immediately apparent that the critic had misread an early scene, and therefore wrongly interpreted the entire plot Another person from the Times then reached out to the author to verify this mistake via a fake email address set up for one of the book s characters They all the Times person, the author, and the character worked together to craft the best possible correction redaction to the erroneous review And Patrick winds up writing the preposterously gracious and reasonable article in Slate that I linked above Super super crazy (((EBOOK))) ↾ This Bright River ☛ Ben Hanson s aimless life has bottomed out after a series of bad decisions, but a surprising 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 earlierLauren 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 heartacheAs Lauren cautiously expands her horizons and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect Could each be exactly what the other needs Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted illegally Sometimes I m very glad that I ve never met Chicago author Patrick Somerville, because it lets me do full critical reviews of his work without the taint of a personal bias and that s especially welcome in the case of his newest novel, This Bright River, because it s a stunner that turned out to be one of Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcenter.com I am the original author of this review, as well as the owner of CCLaP it is not being reprinted illegally Sometimes I m very glad that I ve never met Chicago author Patrick Somerville, because it lets me do full critical reviews of his work without the taint of a personal bias and that s especially welcome in the case of his newest novel, This Bright River, because it s a stunner that turned out to be one of my favorite reads of the entire year Essentially Somerville s attempt at a Jonathan Franzen novel or at least the first two thirds, buton that in a bit , it tells what at first is a meandering dysfunctional family story, about a disgraced trust fund twentysomething who has been tasked by his rich Chicago parents to clean up a recently deceased uncle s home in the small Wisconsin town where they all grew up and for the majority of the book this story unfolds in a highly competent if not expected way, as we get aanddetailed look at the recent events that have made this man child and minimum security convict have the life he now leads, as he awkwardly reconnects with a former high school acquaintance who is also back in their hometown as a means of running away from some sort of bad incident in her own recent past.Ah, but then we enter the extended third act of this novel, which is where everything changes because without giving away any plot points, it becomes clear that the incidents from the woman s recent past are both a lotdangerous than anything else we ve been looking at so far in these characters lives, and an ongoing problem that hasn t yet been resolved , turning This Bright River into a legitimate action thriller for its last hundred pages, a delightful thing to see after thinking that this was to be yet another character heavy look at messed up Midwestern families Now combine this with a growing sense of mystery about the unexplained death of this recently deceased uncle s son a decade ago, which seems in the first half to be merely a clever literary detail by Somerville but which blossoms into a main hinge of the plot by the end and what you re left with is not just the usual academic tale of dysfunctional families but a deeply moving and thematically complex look at the black secrets all of us carry around in our lives, no matter who we are or how normal our lives seem to outsiders, a story that will have you not only thinking for days afterward but literally tearing through pages by the end, from the sheer sense of beach read adventure that Somerville bakes into what is otherwise a pretty typical MFAer plot A book that will easily earn a spot on our best of the year lists coming in just another few weeks, this is a triumphant achievement for Somerville as an artist, especially after two previous books that I found only so so and if you haven t read this haunting novel for yourself yet, I urge you to pick up a copy soon.Out of 10 9.7 SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT view spoiler I usually try to avoid mentioning any important plot details in my book reviews, but I just had to make a special note in this case, and say how incredibly impressed I was by Somerville s treatment of the sexually violent sickness that guides our villain s actions in the climax of This Bright River, and especially how this villain has managed to get away with these acts of violence for decades now because he has literally only committed these acts four times in his life, a truly ill individual who acknowledges his sickness and spends years between each episode trying to control it Although the literal plot details in this part are similar to how a supermarket thriller might play out, I love how much reality and nuance Somerville brings to the motivations that guide these actions versus the cackling serial killer most such novels portray their sexually violent villains as , making the story that muchchilling by showing us that this villain could literally be any of a dozen people all of us know in our own real lives Kudos to the author for delivering one of the best character developments I ve read in years hide spoiler I was inclined to love this book, as The Cradle was the best book I read the year it came out, very moving, beautifully and powerfully written So my expectations were high and they were met Gorgeous writing, terrific, right on dialogue I am tempted to say that this is Somerville s In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O Brien , or Sherman Alexie s Indian Killer, a book that takes him to a much, much darker and crazier place than ever before, though it is maybe not as ultimately dark as Lake I was inclined to love this book, as The Cradle was the best book I read the year it came out, very moving, beautifully and powerfully written So my expectations were high and they were met Gorgeous writing, terrific, right on dialogue I am tempted to say that this is Somerville s In the Lake of the Woods, by Tim O Brien , or Sherman Alexie s Indian Killer, a book that takes him to a much, much darker and crazier place than ever before, though it is maybe not as ultimately dark as Lake It IS, still, about darkness of the human spirit, of madness, of the question of evil in the world and the possibility that goodness may still survive in spite of it all Again, as with The Cradle, family matters Ben, the main guy, is a good person, though clearly lost in so many ways Likeable, though,so than Lauren, who he coincidentally meets in a return to his home town of St Helen s, Helenville, maybe WI She is evenshattered than he is and it is compelling and scary to read both of their stories There is a single crazy event that happens late in the book, the climactic event of the book, and it is both surprising and carefully done There are other somewhat disturbing passages, as we get a chapter in the voice of Will, Lauren s ex Scary, disturbing No darker character There are other sort of tour de force passages, such as the mushroom and drunken stoned soliloquy of Ben s cousin Wayne I like these parts of the book as a writer, he takes risks.Another reason I might have been inclined to like this book is that I know the places he writes about I live in Chicago, I lived in Madison, I have worked in areas between Milwaukee and Madison, I read John Muir when I as there as Ben does, I know the area of the UP he is talking about This is fiction of place that appeals to me I feel, too, that I know Ben, have been to those places he has been, been lost as he was and still may be, he feels familiar to me I care deeply about him, and Denny, and even Lauren and Ben s sister, Haley, and this small town I feel like I know well Wonderful, wonderful book Takes risks at approaching madness and darkness few writers would take, and he pulls it off Should be considered for all sorts of awards this year, for sure The power of art to heal us Somerville does this through his book, but also Ben reads Muir, philosophy, other things in his process of coming out of his malaise, his despair, his lostness And it is not clear he is necessarily out of his hole, finally, which I also like I eagerly anticipated this novel because I thoroughly enjoyed The Cradle This novel is very different, though, and a muchambitious work The Cradle told its story in a straightforward fashion as a husband is sent out on a mission by his pregnant wife to find an ancient cradle her mother had when she was a child and in that quest he discovers something muchvitally important to her The story in This Bright River unfolds in a far less linear pattern Two characters, Ben and Lauren, I eagerly anticipated this novel because I thoroughly enjoyed The Cradle This novel is very different, though, and a muchambitious work The Cradle told its story in a straightforward fashion as a husband is sent out on a mission by his pregnant wife to find an ancient cradle her mother had when she was a child and in that quest he discovers something muchvitally important to her The story in This Bright River unfolds in a far less linear pattern Two characters, Ben and Lauren, who knew each other in high school, return to their Wisconsin hometown in their 30s after each of them has suffered significant setbacks But we don t get their backstory in a straightforward manner We re given small details along the way, as the present story of their re discovery of each other keeps circling back with revelations of partial details of their past he ended up in prison after he exacted revenge against a friend and former business partner by burning the man s apartment down because the friend had stolen his girlfriend She, after serving as a doctor in Africa, ran away from her husband, and is now deeply wounded and depressed from the turmoil of that relationship Another key element of the story is the death of Ben s cousin, Wayne, who froze in the woods of his father s remote cabin in Michigan s Upper Peninsula The novel progresses in eventhan a circling pattern because, as the details build up, the back stories also go down meandering paths, the relevance of which aren t apparent until the novel starts to bring all the pieces together near the end of the book But even then the pieces aren t perfectly reunited because that s part of the books theme that you can t ever discover the full meaning or hidden truth of events from the past There s a moment of high suspense about three quarters of the way in when Ben and Lauren s haunted pasts converge, but then even deeper family secrets are revealed as the novel returns to its moving contemplation of what dredging up the past means and whether it s ever possible to have any of it make enough sense to help you move forward In the early pages, the novel requires a bit of patience as you get partial mysterious details about the characters, but it richly pays off if you stick with it I cannot say enough good things about this book I think I have 5 pages left I can say that it s been over a year since I read anything I felt this invlved in, that I honestly dreaded putting the book down because I didn t want to not be reading it I can say it s been even longer since I felt this invested in characters I can say that reading this book made me feel a littlealive Or, that it made me feelThat my capacity for feeling increased as I read the book It is a very good I cannot say enough good things about this book I think I have 5 pages left I can say that it s been over a year since I read anything I felt this invlved in, that I honestly dreaded putting the book down because I didn t want to not be reading it I can say it s been even longer since I felt this invested in characters I can say that reading this book made me feel a littlealive Or, that it made me feelThat my capacity for feeling increased as I read the book It is a very good book, and everyone should read it Wow I believe I have a new author that I absolutely adore Patrick Somerville has a unique gift with characterization and his prose is both charming and deep The characters in This Bright River are profoundly real I found myself immediately engaged with the protagonist in particular I cared about him and I cared about those he knew and those with whom he was interested As the secondary protagonist emerges, I similarly cared about her I became so involved that I turned page after page well Wow I believe I have a new author that I absolutely adore Patrick Somerville has a unique gift with characterization and his prose is both charming and deep The characters in This Bright River are profoundly real I found myself immediately engaged with the protagonist in particular I cared about him and I cared about those he knew and those with whom he was interested As the secondary protagonist emerges, I similarly cared about her I became so involved that I turned page after page well into the night and then woke early the next morning to be with them I gained their perspective allowing me to catch the dark humor that normally escapes me both in books and in life I felt the intensity of their emotions so deeply, that at times, I had to put the book aside for a few moments to gain perspective and to take a deep breath While clearly time and place are fictional, enough reality in terms of place and historical events kept the novel real for me It s setting in a small town in Wisconsin with access to the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago were within my realm of experience, as were some of the occurrences mentioned on the University of Wisconsin campus Indeed, I was at O Hare airport with the protagonist as I commenced with the first chapter While not lengthy, the author s descriptive language observes the very elements of place to allow the reader to step into the character s reality I admit that Patrick s Somerville s novel may not be for everyone Plot, driven by introspective characters whose ruminations regarding the reality in which they find themselves and the meaning of their lives, create the narrative Falling at times into a stream of conscious style, filled with digression, meandering thoughts, and considered possibilities, the author may lose some who just want to get on with the story Also, the consciousness varies by character, sometimes short and partially evolved thoughts and other times clear and distinctive explorations For me, the intelligence of the writing and the dedication to truth of his characters, even when thoughts would become disjointed or became rambling, provided a sense of realism and only increased my connection with the story and with those involved Reading this book added to my own contemplation about family, love, and daily existence This Bright River in some ways became a philosophical journey as well as a brilliant experience reading a wonderfully developed novel with strong storyline filled with compassion for people and insight in relation to varied choices in lifestyle and paths followed.I thoroughly enjoyed This Bright River I will definitely readfrom this author In fact, after a short reverie upon completing this novel, I immediately ordered Patrick Somerville s other novel The Cradle 4.5 stars Holy crap, this was a great book Something about loveable loser protagonist Ben and prickly also vaguely loser ish Lauren, not to mention the awe inspiring, perfect prose, all these things combined to make a ridiculously engaging, delicious book The only reason this didn t get a full five stars is there is a plot turn late in the book that took me totally by surprise but not in a good way Looking back, it wasn t actually a surprise but I didn t 100% buy into the wrap up, family se 4.5 stars Holy crap, this was a great book Something about loveable loser protagonist Ben and prickly also vaguely loser ish Lauren, not to mention the awe inspiring, perfect prose, all these things combined to make a ridiculously engaging, delicious book The only reason this didn t get a full five stars is there is a plot turn late in the book that took me totally by surprise but not in a good way Looking back, it wasn t actually a surprise but I didn t 100% buy into the wrap up, family secret revelation, etc Oddly the big thing felt less powerful than the quieter parts of the story Nonetheless this is a fantastic book, astoundingly written, and I highly recommend it There are very few books which I do not finish but this one was close I struggled to get thru it Found it rambling and confusing and boring The author could have cut it by 200 pages and maybe then it would have beenbearable I hate to give bad reviews because I appreciate the time and energy the author spent writing the book but I can t find anything good to say about it. What did I just read Why did I read this It s an overlong, tedious, obtuse piece of work The shifting narratives make it almost impossible to read Somerville confuses things by having two stories of the same type, why not just have one Why was there such drama And why was this 450 pages long, and didn t actually manage to reveal anything There s the screw up pothead Ben He was tried for arson for a completely ridiculous reason His parents are somehow able to put him in a white collar pri What did I just read Why did I read this It s an overlong, tedious, obtuse piece of work The shifting narratives make it almost impossible to read Somerville confuses things by having two stories of the same type, why not just have one Why was there such drama And why was this 450 pages long, and didn t actually manage to reveal anything There s the screw up pothead Ben He was tried for arson for a completely ridiculous reason His parents are somehow able to put him in a white collar prison, but not actually mount a decent defense for what was, essentially, a screw up After he s released and is drifting, his father asks him to put together the house of his uncle Denny, who s dead There s too, a secret about how his cousin Wayne, Denny s son, died He was, if anything, an even bigger screw up than Ben Then there s Lauren Ben s interested, but she s Troubled which basically translates into vacillating bitch She s had a husband who has somehow turned psycho She s been, apparently, traumatized enough to almost die out of depression stress in a stadium But, no one thinks she needs to go into therapy She blows hot and cold with Ben He persists Suddenly, there s the husband who s pursuing Lauren because he s lost some precious brain matter all of a sudden, after like four years Oh and there s Haley, who is Ben s sister She s the one person in the book who s not screwed up Surprise She s screwed up too.There are four total narrative shifts A random person who ends the prologue bludgeoned to the head, Ben, Lauren and one chapter of Will Lauren s psycho ex husband The prologue guy s narration doesn t matter He doesn t come back, we never get to know him as a character Ben s narration is coherent, if a little out there Will is psycho, so his stream of consciousness narration is acceptable It s Lauren, who, for me, is the absolute misfire She never rings true There s a bit of her when she s young and she s sharing a project with Ben She sounds exactly the same as she does fifteen years later Did she never grow up She sees Ben after a long time, and is a nasty piece of work I wonder what Ben has done, and it turns out that there s no reason at all That s the author s way of telling us that this lady is troubled I ve had it with these literary troubled women Especially when they re written a way that makes no sense It s made out that Lauren s an abused woman, but she clears out pretty quick when she realizes that he used drugs on her and raped her What bothered me, is not that she ran from him It s that she never tells anyone For four years Even when she knows that Will is screwed up enough to serial rape his female colleagues and his patients too he s a doctor at a refugee camp when she meets him He s caused at least one death, and she s aware of that What the hell was she thinking Why does this woman get called delightful Ben calls her out at one point, but, it s skated over and then there s no mention of it and Lauren comes out of it smelling of sunshine and daisies Lauren has a monologue that lasts for two chapters That basically broke the book for me She tells Ben about her life with the psycho But she hides She fudges She plays coy It doesn t sound like a tell all Ben understands, and I do too, but my point is that it s doesn t feel real It reads like a bad storyteller telling a made up tale, complete with cliffhangers Then there is Ben s reaction to that He walks off, and thinks of his dead cousin When he comes back, Lauren and he have an overlong, obtuse conversation about nothing at all in a swimming pool The only purpose of that was to make him take his cell phone into the pool and make it stop working This is a plot point that becomes relevant later The ex husband had the most relatable characterization I believed he was unhinged I did not believe the motivations of the normal people The ending has a mind boggling amount of plot twists We re talking now of Lauren and now of Will Ha Fooled you We re actually talking about Wayne And Haley And did you know that there was something not right about Ben s father Let s throw in some Jeremy who s so far only been talked about as well The narration is manipulated so that we never know how Ben got to the truth about his cousin Ben randomly connects known facts A, B C with unrevealed or randomly pulled from the ass letters D through Z, and voila mystery solved.What was this book, exactly It maybe that Somerville meant it to be a character study cum mystery cum family drama I think it s a mess A pity Janet Maslin didn t pay attention to a teeny tiny bit at the end where we come to know who the character with the head injury is I don t blame her, by then I would ve welcomed it if the whole lot of them drowned in this Bright River But, that oversight gave Somerville the higher ground, while, I think Maslin was actually too kind in her review