Holly Weiss's Reviews > Northwest Corner

Northwest Corner by John Burnham Schwartz
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Jul 12, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011-release, to-review, american-historical-fiction
Read from July 10 to 12, 2011

In this powerful sequel to Reservation Road, John Burnham Schwartz revisits the Arno and Learner families in another psychological study of the effects of grief, guilt, anger and disconnection on the human spirit.

Dwight Arno has made a fresh start in Santa Barbara, California as a fifty-year old sporting goods store manager. No one in his present knows about the hit-and-run death of Josh Leaner twelve years ago, which shattered his family. His son, Sam, now a twenty-two-year old baseball star, commits an act of violence. He flees to avoid arrest and goes to find his father. Ruth, Dwight’s former wife, is remarried and dealing with breast cancer. We learn about the estranged Arno and Leaner families—family bonds bent almost to the breaking point.

Various characters narrate in alternating short chapters. Schwartz seems the master of brevity in sentence and paragraph structure. Those wanting a clean read may want to steer clear of the many expletives and sexual references. The book moves slowly and is emotionally taxing, accurately mirroring grief. How we handle our lot in life is well captured in this quote. "There's no backward and no forward, no day other than this. You fill your cart as you go, and that's that."

Northwest Corner: A Novel releases July 26, 2011 and is recommended for devotees of Reservation Road.

Library Thing provided the ARC. Opinions expressed in the review are unbiased and solely those of the reviewer.

Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

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