As a young man, Bill Argus abandoned his wife, their young son, and his family's dairy farm in the Sonoma County hamlet of Pianto. Now sixty-three, the once-famous photographer is overcome with the need to find forgiveness from those he left behind. Journeying back to the small dreary California town, he is disoriented after finding a ragged skeleton of the boyhood farm he remembers, and a family unmoved and indifferent to his return.
Bill's awkward homecoming is seen through the eyes of his second wife, Nora (twenty years his junior), who has her own troubled family history. Bearing witness to Bill's reception in Pianto sparks in Nora a revisiting of her own complicated past, and soon, she too sets off on a spiritual journey to explore her own parts unknown.
Set against the wild beauty of the California desert, this deftly imagined first novel lovingly maps the diverse terrain of the human heart as it probes the intricate bonds of family and the complex nature of forgiveness and love.
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Kevin Brennan has rung in the new year in Red Square, performed as a busker in the London Underground, wandered the California desert, and auditioned unsuccessfully for a chance at stardom on reality television. He lives in Petaluma, California, with his wife and surrogate children, Ned (a dog) and Nip (a cat).From Publishers Weekly:
Forgiveness and retribution are key themes in newcomer Brennan's lyrical if slow-moving first novel, which tells the story of a man who abandons his responsibilities to pursue his creative needs. Bill Argus is 63 and a successful photographer of desert scenes when the novel begins. After four decades of guilt and remorse, he has finally decided to return to the tiny Northern California town of Pianto and make amends for his youthful sins. As a young man, he abandoned his 16-year-old wife, Annie, bound to him in a shotgun wedding, and left town. The story is narrated by Bill's second wife, Nora, who tenderly recounts her husband's struggles with guilt and his need to meet his son, Hayes. Nora interpolates her own fractured family life into the drama, revealing that her father abandoned her when she was only a baby. Back in Pianto, Bill and Nora find that his younger brother, Cam, picked up the pieces after Bill's departure by comforting Annie and taking Hayes under his wing. When Bill at last encounters his adult son, his decision to hide his true identity proves to be the ultimate test of will and honor. The final group photo shoot shamelessly but appropriately tugs at the heartstrings. Brennan's tone is smooth and conversational, but the frequent chronological shifts that fill in the backstory and add dimension to the characters are awkward and jarring and slow the narrative's momentum. Despite its sensitivity and poignancy, this debut lacks the adrenaline to keep it afloat. Northern California regional author appearances.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0060012773. Bookseller Inventory # SKU1066387
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Book Description Harper Perennial, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060012773
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