Review: Then Came the Evening: A Novel
Then Came the Evening: A Novel by Brian Hart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The opening chapter for this book is a masterstroke of what I think of as "immersion fiction". The reader is dropped into the middle of a big scene with no introduction to the characters or the surroundings. A good writer is able to let you know just enough to make the scene interesting, but not too much so that you're compelled to go on with the book. The violent altercation that sets the wheels of Then Came the Evening does just that. A man is confronted by the police, people talk at each other rather than to them, and the world of Bandy Dorner changes drastically, all by his own hand (which in itself is unusual in most fiction these days). The story picks up almost 20 years later, Bandy has paid his price, and when he returns to his old life, some thing have changed drastically and unfortunately, some things have not changed at all. With a son he never met until he was grown and an exwife who is incapable of standing on her own, a half hearted attempt is made at starting a sort of family. The book loses a lot of steam when the exwife is center stage, Hart just doesn't write his female characters as active as his male characters. They're predictable and flat and drag down what would have been a more vivid story without them.
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