David Fox's Reviews > Bright's Passage

Bright's Passage by Josh Ritter
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's review
Nov 04, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, reviewed, owned-books, recommend-to-friends
Recommended for: Word lovers
Read from March 20 to 24, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

Astride an Angel

Bias alert! Josh Ritter is one of my favorite new singer/song writers. Since discovering him a few years back I've soaked in all of his songs, attended his concerts & marveled all the while at his ability to move me with his music & lyrics. So, when I read that he had written a novel I jumped on line to peruse the reviews & was sufficiently persuaded that I must read his book. And, now that I have, all I can say is: "Damn, not fair at all that any single person can be so incredibly talented."

His debut novel is simply stunning - a lyrical, poetic paean, celebrating the vibrancy of the human spirit, while artfully dissecting the malignancy that sometimes passes for the human heart. From the opening sentence of his novel it is clear that we are about to be treated to a richly told story:"The baby boy wriggled in his arms, a warm, wet mass, softer than a goat and harrier than a rabbit kit." Every sentence is crafted with that same sense of care - no wasted words, superfluous scenes or unnecessary narrative. Mr. Ritter simply tells the tale of a young, poor boy, returning from the War (yes before there was a II) who loses his wife & struggles with an angel who commands that he do things he'd rather not. To an extent,I'm being slightly disingenuous, as there is nothing really simple about anything contained within Bright's Passage. That is one of its charms. On one level it reads like a simple fable - a parable of good & evil. On a deeper level, it conveys so much more, testing our own assumptions, challenging I would hope, our very belief systems. But for me, more than anything, Ritter's first novel was simply a joy to read, a small treasure to be cherished & remembered.

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Quotes David Liked

Josh Ritter
“It was the blue of the sky that caught him first: a rapturous, painfully pure spike of color that hooked his eyes like fish and reeled them upward into the heights.”
Josh Ritter, Bright's Passage

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