Then Came the Evening: A Novel
Published by Bloomsbury USA (December 22, 2009)
Hardcover: 272 pages
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 are damaged, hardened, haunted. But warily, desperately, they move in a slow dance around each other, trying to piece back together a family that never was; trying to discover if they belong together at all.
I picked up this book for its setting. I needed a book set in Idaho for my Where Are You Reading? Challenge. I was pleasantly surprised by this solid debut.
These characters are broken and raw. Damaged by the circumstances of their lives and poor decisions they make their way back to the homestead in rural Idaho. Brandy from prison, Tracy wanted more out of his life, and Iona because her son needed her and frankly there was nothing in her life away she couldn’t leave behind.
The story is dark and gritty and a bit intense in places. It is very well written. Never having been to Idaho the author took me there with his vivid descriptions. When I think of Idaho I think beautiful and serene. Hart takes us to the places a tourist would never see.
About This Author
Brian Hart was born in central Idaho in 1976. He’s worked as a carpenter, welder, drywall hanger, dishwasher, commercial fisherman, line cook, and janitor. In 2005 he won the Keene Prize for Literature, the largest student literary prize in the world. He received an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers in 2008. Then Came the Evening is his first novel.
*This book was from by personal collection.