This Bright River book review

Patrick Somerville Discuss this article

thisbrightriver
© ITP Images

This Bright River by Patrick Somerville
4/5

This Bright River begins in a bar in Madison, Wisconsin. Two strangers, their identities unknown to us, meet and spend the evening bonding; they then exit into the cold night, where a shocking act of violence occurs. That incident hangs over much of Patrick Somerville’s new novel – it’s a crime-show-style cold opening with implications that weave their way through the rest of the story.

The novel’s central characters and narrators, Ben Hanson and Laurie Sheehan, are former classmates who are reunited when Ben returns to Wisconsin. Home to restore his late uncle’s cabin, Ben finds himself struggling with his newfound sobriety; Laurie, a former doctor, buries herself in veterinary work and tries to shake off a series of past traumas. As their histories emerge via flashbacks, they are drawn to one another – and toward the isolated shelter where Ben seeks answers regarding another bygone tragedy. Stories nest subtly within other stories until, near the end, there’s a revelation about one precise, profound moment in time. Tobias Carroll

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Doha,

Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to weekender newsletter

Submit

The Knowledge

Win big prizes at Time Out Doha’s one-off Grand Brunch
Sep 6

Book your table now for The St. Regis Grand Brunch on Friday Sept 21

MOQ hosts futuristic Acrobat Tech Show
Sep 5

Be dazzled by laser lights and mesmerising stunts

Almaty
Sep 2

Explore the historical and cultural capital of Kazakhstan

Newsletters

Sign up now