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Then Came the Evening

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  197 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Bandy Dorner, home from Vietnam, awakes with his car mired in a canal, his cabin reduced to ashes, and his pregnant wife preparing to leave town with her lover. Within moments, a cop lies bleeding in the road.Eighteen years later, Bandy's son -- a stranger bearing his name -- returns to the town, where the memory of his father's crime still hangs thick. When an accident br ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published December 22nd 2009)
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Jul 31, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog, arc
Despite not being the focal point of the narrative, all of the events in Brian Hart's Then Came the Evening can be traced back to one defining moment: Bandy Dorner enlisted for Vietnam. We never know what Bandy experienced during his tour of duty because the novel begins after his return home, but we know it had a profound effect. He returns a changed man and, after learning that his home has burnt down and believing his young wife, Iona, to have been inside, a drunk, grief-stricken Bandy turns ...more
Sadly, this was not a story for me. The writing style is good, but I am not a huge fan of the language choices and all the sexual references and the story itself failed to draw me in. I would like to state up front that I did not finish this book. So my opinions are only based on the first third of the book, and skim-reading the rest.

'Then Came the Evening' has three main Characters: Bandy the father who is in jail, Iona his wife who left him for another man, and Tracy their teenage son who neve
Dec 19, 2009 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bandy, a young, hot headed Vietnam vet, rages his personal war with himself, his loved ones and anyone else who happens by, some of them even come out of it alive though few are unscathed. Bandy’s girlfriend finds out she’s pregnant and knows she has to escape Bandy’s almost nightly drinking, fighting and womanizing so she leaves with a quiet man who asks few questions. Bandy’s actions on the fateful day she leaves land him in jail for a few decades. It’s there he finds he has a son when the 18 ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Djrmel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, first-reads
The opening chapter for this book is a masterstroke of what I think of as "immersion fiction". The reader is dropped into the middle of a big scene with no introduction to the characters or the surroundings. A good writer is able to let you know just enough to make the scene interesting, but not too much so that you're compelled to go on with the book. The violent altercation that sets the wheels of Then Came the Evening does just that. A man is confronted by the police, people talk at each othe ...more
Andy Miller
This was a first novel by Brian Hart about a Vietnam Vet who murders a deputy sheriff in a small Idaho town, goes to prison, is released after serving 19 years to reunite with his son who was born after the murder. He also reconnects with his ex-wife and attempts to reintegrate into the small Idaho town.
There is some good writing here and a couple of well developed characters. I did not like the cavalier treatment of the murders committed by the central character. (Spoiler Alert!)
The character m
Jan 10, 2011 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just won this book! Thank you Goodreads! If you want to read an uplifting and feel good book do NOT read this novel. It is a very dark family drama. Upon returning home from Vietnam, Brandy Dorner commits a serious crime and is sent to prison for 20 years. After his release, he returns to his home and a son he never knew he had. Also an ex-wife who is damaged and dealing with her past. This violent and tragic story is a memorable debut by Brian Hart. 3.5 stars but 4 for keeping me interested!
Wisteria Leigh
Mar 13, 2011 Wisteria Leigh rated it really liked it
Bandy Dorner emerges from his wrecked car after being roused awake by two policemen. Searching for focus in a dazed stupor, what happens next will send him away to jail for almost twenty years. His wife Iona, having fled with her lover Bill has no interest in Bandy, and his life in prison is hellish. He has not heard from Iona and he has asked his parents not to visit. Then in 1990 as he is near the end of his time served he receives a letter from Iona, with a startling confession that he has an ...more
Nov 27, 2009 Karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
The two stars is not a reflection of the talent of the writer but rather of the likeability/ relatability of the characters and my general reading experience. The author manages to bring a tenderness to this book that is simultaneously unexpected and appropriate. I think this takes real talent. I just wish the characters were a little more relatable.

Basic plot: Very rural Idaho. Early 1970s. Vietnam vet named Bandy goes a little crazy when he thinks his girlfriend has died in a fire, runs his ca
Chad Sayban
More reviews at The Story Within The Story

Bandy Dorner was a hard drinking, hard fighting man when he went to prison for murdering a police officer. Eighteen years later, he is a broken man with deteriorating health. Now as he is about to be released, he finds out he has a teenage son, Tracy, who wants to discover who his father is. Tracy’s mother Iona has never been there for her son, but when Tracy is severely injured, Bandy and Iona find themselves returning to the small rural Idaho town wher
Oct 21, 2012 LORI CASWELL rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Bandy Dorner, home from Vietnam, awakes with his car mired in a canal, his cabin reduced to ashes, and his pregnant wife preparing to leave town with her lover. Within moments, a cop lies bleeding on the road.

Eighteen years later, Bandy is released from prison. His parents are gone, but on the derelict family ranch, Bandy faces a different reunion. Tracy, his now teen-aged son, has come to claim the father he’s never known. Iona, Bandy’s ex-wife, has returned on the heels of her son. All three a
Rob Kitchin
Jul 14, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Then Came The Evening has a measured rhythm, ticking along at a sedate, reflective pace. In terms of sense of place, themes and characters it reminded me of the writing of Daniel Woodrell. And like Woodrell, Hart is a fine wordsmith. The characterisation is well observed and I particularly liked the awkward, stilted conversations between the three main characters; the way scenes unfolded in ways shaped by conflicting emotions and unexplained irrationalities. Hart also does a fine job of capturin ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book!! Hooray for first-reads!! Thank you!!
This book was a family drama about how easily the choices we make can make our lives go completely awry. Pretty developed characters... I just think the ending lacked a bit.
"Accidents happen and afterwards it's just a matter of salvage. Maybe all the time it's a matter of getting what you can while you can, haul the lumber up the bank, save what you can from the fire. Let it go."

I don't remember how or why this debut novel by Brian Hart ended up on my to-read list, but it was a very unexpected read for me. The world of the novel (rural poverty and small-time crime) and the characters (their motives and choices) were completely alien to me. Far more alien than even
Dec 25, 2009 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I've put off writing this review because I'm still not sure what I think of Then Came the Evening. In general, I'd say it's a good book; I've given it 3 stars, though I lean more towards 3.5. The descriptions of Idaho are well-done, the characters are mostly well-drawn, and the writing style did not fall victim to clichés and clutter, though I did have issues with sentence structure at times. While Then Came the Evening bears some of the hallmarks of a first novel, I also think it reveals genuin ...more
Dec 20, 2009 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I won "Then Came the Evening" through Goodreads Free Reads.

"Then Came the Evening" is a novel that follows the lives of a dysfunctional family, trying to make right on past wrongs. There is Bandy, the Vietnam veteran with a murderous temper, his lover Iona, who decides to try to get her life together when she is well past her prime, and their illegitimate son, Tracy, who wants to connect with the father he never knew.

We follow these characters through drug addictions, spurts of violence, accide
Nov 27, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
In boxing, they say the right hook is the knock-out punch. The haymaker. But the left jab is the one that does all the work. It is quick, efficient, power-packed. The jab is the punch that takes all the juice out of the opponent. Brian Hart’s THEN CAME THE EVENING is a flurry of jabs, delivering the powerful stories of Bandy Dorner, his ex-wife, Iona, and Tracy, his son.
In the opening, Bandy kills a cop on the day his pregnant (unknown to Bandy) wife leaves with another man for Spokane, and his
Ellen Christian
Then Came the Evening is a family drama that takes several dysfunctional characters and attempts to reunite them into a family unit. Bandy is a Vietnam vet newly released from prison with a violent past that includes shooting a police man. Ionna is the wife that left him and ran away with another man while unknowingly pregnant with his son. She's now a drug addict who turns tricks. Tracy is the son Bandy never knew he had who goes to visit him in prison to ask if he can stay in Bandy's old, fall ...more
Dec 19, 2009 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my very first win from First reads, so I was very excited to read this book.

The premise of the book (man commits crime, is sent to jail, returns years later to a grown son and estranged wife, attempts to readjust to normal life) is what prompted me to enter to win this from First Reads and what kept me reading to the end.

I must admit that the earlier part of the novel felt a little slow for me. There were times when I felt Hart's sentences were a little clunky and awkward and I had to r
Karen Fenton
Then Came The Evening was a Goodreads win for me. Thank you! This is a story about three very dyfunctional people. Brandy who was a Viet Vet and killed a policeman, sent to prison then released, goes to live with his son he had recently found out he had. His exwife is also living in the house that Tracy, the son, was redoing. These three people seem to stay dyfunctional through the entire book, their choice of friends don't seem to be much better. I thought the book was slow, more detail on the ...more
This years 'Great American Novel', although for me the title 'great' doesn’t really fit. Some of the characters are well created and believable (Bandy, Iona) but Tracey falls well short. Here's a kid, just 18, who appears to have been a weak kid in school, bullied, afraid of heights and yet can he can so easily set up home for himself in a derelict house in the middle of nowhere.

Bandy on the other hand is a damaged man who is involved in the dead of his friend and eventually a cop killer (He is
Philip Alexander
May 12, 2015 Philip Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was not what I had expected. I had thought it was going to be a crime novel. It begins with the murder of a police officer and then very fluidly shifts gears and settles into a subtly powerful and engrossing story about Bandy Dorner, his time in prison and his partner and estranged son's life on the outside. After serving his sentence, Bandy returns home to attmept to re-build his life. Brian Hart is a great writer. The sinewy, yet poetic prose, propels the story. The novel is dark an ...more
Jan 21, 2011 Eileen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book is about people we all come across at some point and wonder how they got there- hardened, cynical, calloused, fighting their way through life. Bandy is a Viet Nam vet who returns but things just keep getting tougher. Iona is his wife who made a choice that caused consequences beyond what she could have imagined, and Tracy is their son who had high hopes for all of them. I love how author Brian Hart writes, the small details are amazing, like having a character dig the grease out from u ...more
May 08, 2013 Esther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually don't like to read about the downtrodden. It's too depressing, but Mr. Hart kept me interested with some great turns of phrase and the character of Tracy. Tracy represents hope and determination, while his father Bandy goes into a death spiral. Iona, Tracy's mother, portrays redemption. Bandy suffers from PTSD and is a convicted murderer who has served his sentence. Iona is a meth addict and occasional prostitute. She's lost everything after the death of her lover. As soon as Tracy com ...more
Feb 17, 2010 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember how I chose this book - if it was a recommendation or I read an article about it - but I know I was interested.

Then Came the Evening takes place in Idaho and various other Northern locations - still I connected it with it. Lost people, people adrift in this world, unimportant to themselves or the grander world - these are my people. The story reminded me of home in Southern Louisiana. It wasn't because of the locale but the characters who found themselves in trouble and in hope
Crystal C
May 10, 2011 Crystal C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the review excerpts in the back of this book described it as in the same style as Cormac McCarthy. I agree with that, and would also describe this book as similar in some ways to Willy Vlautin's novels. So I give the book four stars because, although it was good, I've read better. There are a few holes in the story line, and the ending is somewhat unsatisfactory (not in content, but in style -- there's a lot of dramatic build up to a rather quick and abrupt conclusion that does not resolv ...more
Aug 17, 2012 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is set in a bleak landscape that is a fitting back drop for the characters - Bandy Dorner, his common-law wife, Iona, and their son, Tracey. After serving 20 years in prison for murder, Bandy returns to the place where he grew up and begins to forge a relationship with a son he didn't know he had and, once again, with Iona. There is an unstated depth of feeling in the communication and interactions among these three wounded, vulnerable people. Brian Hart makes his readers wonder how t ...more
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Mar 04, 2011 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What do relationships cost? And do you really get what you pay for? "Then Came the Evening" bulges from the weight of one family's discoveries and disenchantment. I didn't know these people, but I have a sweet understanding for them now. Brian Hart gives the reader just enough to fill in the blanks yet, never truly puts all the pieces in place. The thrill is in reading passage to passage as quickly as possible to learn the details. The scenery, the background, the daily struggles of isolation. A ...more
May 14, 2010 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This dark family drama is a riveting read I found hard to put down. The bleak landscape, so well-drawn, provides the perfect backdrop for the story of Bandy, Tracy, and Iona. Reading this book, I couldn't help but reflect on how if put me in mind of No Country for Old Men- it has that same deftly rendered cinematic feel to the background. I was surprised by how invested I felt in these characters, whose lives are far outside my realm of experience. I was sorry when the book ended, because despit ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Ferris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always enjoy reading debut novels, and this was no exception. I think Brian Hart has tremendous potential. Some of his phrasing was absolutely lovely. The plot, while very engaging, was a little choppy in an effort to cover large periods of time and then slow down for a while, then speed up again. This novel is a gritty, down-to-earth story of life, with all of its unpredictability, its unlikely pairings, and I really like that the ending is not fairy tale and not too dark.....just full of pos ...more
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