Tuesday, May 17, 2011 Posted by Dina N
In his riveting new novel, Will Allison, critically acclaimed author of What You Have Left, crafts an emotional and psychological drama that explores the moral ambiguities of personal responsibility as it chronicles a father's attempt to explain himself to his daughter — even though he knows that in doing so, he risks losing her.
Life can change in an instant because of one small mistake. For Glen Bauer, all it takes is a quick jerk of the steering wheel, intended to scare a reckless driver. But the reckless driver is killed, and just like that, Glen's placid suburban existence begins to unravel.
Written in part as a confessional letter from Glen to his daughter, Sara, Long Drive Home evokes the sharp-eyed observation of Tom Perrotta and the pathos of Dan Chaon in its trenchant portrait of contemporary American life.
When Glen realizes no one else saw the accident, he impulsively lies about what happened — to the police, to his wife, even to Sara, who was in the backseat at the time of the crash. But a tenacious detective thinks Sara might have seen more than she knows, or more than her parents will let her tell. And when Glen tries to prevent the detective from questioning Sara, he finds himself in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game that could end in a lawsuit or prison. What he doesn't see coming is the reaction of his wife, Liz — a panicked plan that threatens to tear their family apart in the name of saving it.
But what if the accident wasn't really Glen's fault? What if someone else were to blame for the turn his life has taken? It's a question Glen can't let go of. And as he struggles to understand the extent of his own guilt, he finds himself on yet another collision course, different in kind but with the potential to be equally devastating. Long Drive Home is a stunning cautionary tale of unintended consequences that confirms Will Allison's growing reputation as a rising literary talent.
Long Drive Home is a novel about actions and consequences - how seemingly small and mundane things, a bad judgment, a lie by omission accumulate to affect the lives of many. Glen, the main character, is a basically good person - a caring father and husband, a hard-working accountant, a thoughtful neighbor and friend. Despite all that, one morning he gives in to a frustration that leads to a bad decision that leads to a tragic accident. It sets off a chain of events that destroy Glen's life from within. Lies, mistakes and good intentions pave the road to his personal nightmare.
The book is written as Glen's confession to his daughter, a couple of years after it all started. Glen holds nothing back - his thoughts, his doubts, his fear about his family, his guilt and his anger, the agony of sinking deeper into deception, the desire to come clean and seek absolution. Mr. Allison masterfully bares Glen's soul but leaves the judgment of right and wrong to the reader. He is one writer to watch - Long Drive Home is his second book, after What You Have Left.
Long Drive Home: A Novel hits bookstores today, published by Free Press.
Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the author, publisher or PR firm.