A riveting novel of feeling and suspense in which grief and punishment become tragically intertwined.
At the close of a beautiful summer day near the quiet Connecticut town where they live, the Learner family--Ethan and Grace, their children, Josh and Emma--stop at a gas station on their way home from a concert. Josh Learner, lost in a ten-year-old's private world, is standing at the edge of the road when a car comes racing around the bend. He is hit and instantly killed. The car speeds away.
From this moment forward, Reservation Road becomes a harrowing countdown to the confrontation between two very different men. The hit-and-run driver is a small-town lawyer named Dwight Arno, a man in desperate need of a second chance. Dwight is also the father of a ten-year-old boy, who was asleep in the car the night Josh Learner was killed. Now Dwight must decide whether to run from his crime or to pay the price for what he did. Ethan Learner, a respected professor of literature at a small New England college, has seen his orderly world shattered in a single moment, yet persists in the belief that he can find the unknown man who killed his son. Behind their stories are those of eight-year-old Emma, who can't stop thinking her brother's death was her fault, and of Grace, who must find the strength to keep herself and her family together, and to be the mother Emma so badly needs.
In a gripping narrative woven from the voices of Ethan, Dwight, and Grace, Reservation Road tells the story of two ordinary families facing an extraordinary crisis--a book that reads like a thriller but opens up a world rich with psychological nuance and emotional wisdom. Reservation Road explores the terrain of grief even as it astonishes with unexpected redemption: powerful and wrenching and impossible to put down.
About the Author
John Burnham Schwartz is the author of the novels Claire Marvel and Bicycle Days. His books have been translated into more than fifteen languages and his writing has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and Vogue. He lives with his wife and son in Brooklyn, New York.
"This is a shattering book, imagined with startling emotional precision and generosity. And though it begins in catastrophe, Reservation Road turns out to be a kind of map of connectedness: Touch a child here and the whole world trembles out of orbit; everyone bleeds; finally, perhaps, after great pain, everyone heals. John Burnham Schwartz is awfully young to own this much wisdom, but there it is, on every page."
"A powerful and affecting novel...haunting...highly suspenseful...compelling to read."
--Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Spellbinding...a haunting tale"
"A poignant thriller...quietly breathtaking...a suspenseful literary novel"
--Betsey Osborne, Vanity Fair
"A pleasure to read. Suspense is redefined here..."
--Sandra Scofield, Newsday
"A lovely book, full of life and feeling"
"One of those rare--very rare--novels that you don't so much read as inhabit...But it's the novel's conclusion, as perfect as it is sudden, shocking and completely unexpected, that will stick in your memory."
--Tom Dehaven, Entertainment Weekly
"A beautiful novel. An important novel"
--David Bowman, New York Observer
"Both a beautiful, wrenching story of redemption, and a novel of exquisite suspense"
"A first-rate work of fiction disguised as a page-turning thriller"
"An unexpected pleasure...It will leave the reader entranced as well as moved."
--Erica Noonan, Boston Herald
"A non-stop read...a wonderful writer"
"A triumph of form, pacing and power...character-driven as it is, it reads like a thrille, swift and complete."
--Kit Reed, New York Times Book Review
"It possesses a conclusion of such power that it would be a literary crime to reveal it."
--Deirdre Donahue, USA Today