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Reservation Road

Schwartz, John Burnham

Published by Knopf, 1998
ISBN 10: 0375402632 / ISBN 13: 9780375402630
Used / Hardcover / Quantity Available: 1
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About the Book

Bibliographic Details


Title: Reservation Road

Publisher: Knopf

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition.

Description:

Signed by Author 0375402632 This hardcover book is Fine, being square and tight. The boards and spine have no wear with pristine lettering. The pages and endpages are clean, with no markings or folds. The dustjacket is As New. Original Price is intact. Not ex-lib. No remainder mark. This copy is signed by the Author on the title page without inscription. Bookseller Inventory # 006218

About this title:

Book ratings provided by GoodReads:
3.55 avg rating
(1,928 ratings)

Synopsis: A riveting novel of feeling and suspense in which grief and punishment become tragically intertwined.

        At the close of a beautiful summer day near the quiet Connecticut town where they live, the Learner family--Ethan and Grace, their children, Josh and Emma--stop at a gas station on their way home from a concert. Josh Learner, lost in a ten-year-old's private world, is standing at the edge of the road when a car comes racing around the bend. He is hit and instantly killed. The car speeds away.

        From this moment forward, Reservation Road becomes a harrowing countdown to the confrontation between two very different men. The hit-and-run driver is a small-town lawyer named Dwight Arno, a man in desperate need of a second chance. Dwight is also the father of a ten-year-old boy, who was asleep in the car the night Josh Learner was killed. Now Dwight must decide whether to run from his crime or to pay the price for what he did. Ethan Learner, a respected professor of literature at a small New England college, has seen his orderly world shattered in a single moment, yet persists in the belief that he can find the unknown man who killed his son. Behind their stories are those of eight-year-old Emma, who can't stop thinking her brother's death was her fault, and of Grace, who must find the strength to keep herself and her family together, and to be the mother Emma so badly needs.          

        In a gripping narrative woven from the voices of Ethan, Dwight, and Grace, Reservation Road tells the story of two ordinary families facing an extraordinary crisis--a book that reads like a thriller but opens up a world rich with psychological nuance and emotional wisdom. Reservation Road explores the terrain of grief even as it astonishes with unexpected redemption: powerful and wrenching and impossible to put down.

Review: "Explain this to me: One minute there is a boy, a life thrumming with possibilities, and the next there are marked cars and strangers in uniform and the fractured whirling lights. And that, suddenly, is all the world has to offer." This is the voice of Ethan Learner, a college professor who has just watched his 10-year-old son, Josh, die in a hit-and-run accident on a silent Connecticut road.

John Burnham Schwartz's Bicycle Days (1989) received favorable reviews but seemed very much an autobiographical first novel. His second fiction, Reservation Road, however, is a book that resists genres: a tragedy where all the characters are flawed and none are entirely guilty; a thriller where the killer, Dwight, wants to be caught but is too laden with self-loathing to turn himself in; and an experimental novel where the narrative jumps gracefully among three perspectives.

In the opening pages Schwartz establishes strong connections between fathers and sons. Moments before the accident Ethan watches his son standing precariously close to the curb; he sees possibilities in Josh, a shy boy whose musical gifts indicate a sensitivity that is no less present, though more mature, in his father. At the same time, Dwight and his son, Sam (also 10), are rushing home from an extra-innings Red Sox game where Dwight tries to rebuild the fragments of attachment left after a bitter divorce. Schwartz reveals depth in simple gestures--a hand, for example, placed in a hand, only to be self-consciously pulled away. Dwight drives on after hitting Josh, though he slows in a moment of hesitation in which Ethan hears him calling "Sam" or "Sham"--he's not sure which. Out of grief, and with only scattered clues, Ethan begins his quiet pursuit of the killer, a pursuit that fuels the novel to its poetic conclusion. In Reservation Road, John Burnham Schwartz has crafted a lasting work of literature, a page-turner that's also a rich character study. --Patrick O'Kelley

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