Long Drive Home

( 91 )

Overview

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 ...

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Long Drive Home: A Novel

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Allison follows What You Have Left with a tight drama, part psychological thriller, part tragedy. Glen is an accountant living in New Jersey with his successful wife, Liz, and their six-year-old daughter, Sara. On an ordinary drive home from school, a series of mundane decisions grow increasingly dire and culminate in a car accident that sets road-raging Glen onto a path of deception and self-destruction. The novel is told from Glen's perspective, in part through a confessional letter written to Sara, an obvious but nonetheless effective tension builder. It's a slow burn as guilt chips away at Glen's sanity and his marriage crumbles, his impotent angst finds an unlikely outlet, and he comes under ever more scrutiny by a strangely motivated detective. Allison's triumph is the skillful rendering of Glen's transformation as a basically good guy whose fatal flaw leads him to a cataclysmically stupid decision. And while other characters fare less well—the cop on Glen's tail is straight out of an airport thriller, and Liz isn't given the chance to break through her mercenary and fundamentally unpleasant mold—Allison's effortless prose and playful genre mixing showcase a burgeoning talent. (May)
The New York Times
“A man driving with his 6-year-old daughter in the back seat gets a case of road rage after a teenage driver cuts him off….[T]he dad, Glen, decides to teach the teenage boy a lesson….While narrowly focusing his lens on the event and its consequences, Mr. Allison still manages to take in a panorama of human behavior. Not knowing what his little girl was aware of, Glen doesn’t admit his role in the accident to his wife or the police. Mr. Allison’s gift is in making that lie—and each new one it inevitably spawns—understandable, showing how this story could be anyone’s.”
People
“In this psychological thriller, the cover-up is as bad as the crime….With one disastrous decision and the turn of his steering wheel, Glen Bauer manages to destroy four lives and two families. That incident and the years of guilt and deception that follow are the subject of Allison’s fine second novel (after What You Have Left), a gripping morality that raises questions about race, conscience and the responsibilities of parenthood….Allison’s eye for the quiet details of domestic life highlights what’s at stake, and he makes brilliant use of the precocious Sara…”
Entertainment Weekly
“In Long Drive Home, Allison focuses on the brutally quick unraveling of Glen’s peaceful existence, filling the reader with not only dread but also the desire to discover what terrible—or hopeful—development awaits on the next page.”
The Oprah Magazine O
"Like a nightmare that gets scarier and scarier as the hyperrealistic details mount, Will Allison's psychological thriller Long Drive Home can shake you up . . . But while wondering whether Glen will get arrested is what keeps you turning pages, Allison's eye for the details of marriage and fatherhood, and his deconstruction of what can happen when a good guy makes one false move, are what will break your heart."
Hannah Tinti
“Will Allison’s beautiful novel is part detective story, part wrenching family drama. It will make you hold your children tighter and kiss your husband or wife longer, thinking of the simple pleasures of everyday life that can be so easily spirited away.”
Brock Clarke
“Will Allison’s Long Drive Home is a sneaky novel, and I mean this as highest praise. Just as the narrator's misdeeds sneak into his conscience and then refuse to leave, so too will this novel’s wry voice and beautifully drawn characters burrow into your heart and mind. A harrowing, terrifically tense, unforgettable book.”
Bonnie Jo Campbell
“In Long Drive Home, Will Allison reminds us how risky life is, how one bad move, one swerve from the right path, might set in motion a series of events that can destroy what we love.”
Lauren Grodstein
Long Drive Home examines, with haunting elegance, how quickly one bad decision can descend into calamity. The dread grows with every page—as does the horrifying realization that the narrator’s choices could be yours, and his tragedy could so easily be your own.”
Frederick Reiken
“Will Allison is a natural storyteller. As he makes clear with his stunning second book, he also has a habit of writing poignant, compulsively readable novels. Long Drive Home is a gripping, elegant, morally complex, and vividly realized portrait of our time and place.”
From the Publisher
“A man driving with his 6-year-old daughter in the back seat gets a case of road rage after a teenage driver cuts him off….[T]he dad, Glen, decides to teach the teenage boy a lesson….While narrowly focusing his lens on the event and its consequences, Mr. Allison still manages to take in a panorama of human behavior. Not knowing what his little girl was aware of, Glen doesn’t admit his role in the accident to his wife or the police. Mr. Allison’s gift is in making that lie—and each new one it inevitably spawns—understandable, showing how this story could be anyone’s.”

“In this psychological thriller, the cover-up is as bad as the crime….With one disastrous decision and the turn of his steering wheel, Glen Bauer manages to destroy four lives and two families. That incident and the years of guilt and deception that follow are the subject of Allison’s fine second novel (after What You Have Left), a gripping morality that raises questions about race, conscience and the responsibilities of parenthood….Allison’s eye for the quiet details of domestic life highlights what’s at stake, and he makes brilliant use of the precocious Sara…”

"Like a nightmare that gets scarier and scarier as the hyperrealistic details mount, Will Allison's psychological thriller Long Drive Home can shake you up . . . But while wondering whether Glen will get arrested is what keeps you turning pages, Allison's eye for the details of marriage and fatherhood, and his deconstruction of what can happen when a good guy makes one false move, are what will break your heart."

“In Long Drive Home, Allison focuses on the brutally quick unraveling of Glen’s peaceful existence, filling the reader with not only dread but also the desire to discover what terrible—or hopeful—development awaits on the next page.”

"[A] tight drama, part psychological thriller, part tragedy . . . Allison's effortless prose and playful genre mixing showcase a burgeoning talent."

“Will Allison’s beautiful novel is part detective story, part wrenching family drama. It will make you hold your children tighter and kiss your husband or wife longer, thinking of the simple pleasures of everyday life that can be so easily spirited away.”

“Will Allison’s Long Drive Home is a sneaky novel, and I mean this as highest praise. Just as the narrator's misdeeds sneak into his conscience and then refuse to leave, so too will this novel’s wry voice and beautifully drawn characters burrow into your heart and mind. A harrowing, terrifically tense, unforgettable book.”

“In Long Drive Home, Will Allison reminds us how risky life is, how one bad move, one swerve from the right path, might set in motion a series of events that can destroy what we love.”

Long Drive Home examines, with haunting elegance, how quickly one bad decision can descend into calamity. The dread grows with every page—as does the horrifying realization that the narrator’s choices could be yours, and his tragedy could so easily be your own.”

“Will Allison is a natural storyteller. As he makes clear with his stunning second book, he also has a habit of writing poignant, compulsively readable novels. Long Drive Home is a gripping, elegant, morally complex, and vividly realized portrait of our time and place.”

Bruce Machart
"A lean masterwork of suspense, Long Drive Home is burnished, brilliant, and irresistibly alluring in its depiction of a man who, when beset by his greatest fears, finds only himself to blame."
Porter Shreve
"In Long Drive Home a fatal car wreck sets off a series of moral crises in the lives of an ordinary suburban family. At stake: race, justice, a couple's marriage, the future of their six-year-old daughter. Will Allison has written a wise and indelible domestic thriller: heart-quickening, heartbreaking—that rare thing: a genuine literary page-turner."
Robin Black
“In Long Drive Home, Will Allison displays a stunning understanding of the ways small unworthy acts can sometimes unravel us. This story of responsibility, regret, and one family's response to a single dishonesty is a powerful tribute to the complexity of human interactions. You won't soon forget either the chills or the compassion this book will evoke.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594492672
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 5/17/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 203,539
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Will Allison’s debut novel, What You Have Left, was selected for Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, Borders Original Voices, and Book Sense Picks, and was named one of 2007’s notable books by the San Francisco Chronicle. His short stories have appeared in magazines such as Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer Train, and One Story and have received special mention in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories anthologies. He is the former executive editor of Story. Born in Columbia, South Carolina, he now lives with his wife and daughter in New Jersey. Learn more about Will Allison at www.willallison.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 91 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(21)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(19)

1 Star

(14)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 91 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good book...but is it worth the money?

    I saw a positive review for this book in a People magazine. And it wasn't just one of those small blurbs, it took up the whole page. It sounded really, really good. No spoilers, but it shows how in a matter of seconds how many lives can change because of 1 tiny decision. Anyways, I read the reviews (there weren't many) on my Nook and noticed many people commented on how short it was. So I looked at the product details and it said 224 pages (around there). Now I know Nook pages and book pages aren't the same, but usually they're in the same vicinity. Not with this book. After buying it for $9.99, it only had 132 pages on the Nook, and only 107 pages of it is the actual book. It was really, really good. It had all the makings of a great novel. But then it ends abruptly and you feel like they forgot to give you the rest of the book. I guess I should be grateful I didn't pay for an actual book, but I feel like someone gave me a taste of something excellent and then said I wasn't allowed to have anymore. If you can deal with this, buy it. Would I do it over if I could? No.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Long Drive Home

    While, driving his daughter home from school, Glen succumbs to road rage that results in the death of a teenage driver. Although, not accused of a crime, the guilt he feels cause the dissolution of his marriage.

    This short novel is packed with emotion as Glen unravels from his actions, and marriage crumbles. Part of the story is his confession to his six-year old daughter through letters. Will Allison's novel makes the reader think about what one's actions. I found it enjoyable and read it in one sitting. When finishing though, I was wanting more.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    What?

    This is the same exact cover as the book mocking bird, at first i thought it was a sequel but now i realize its not also the book is pretty much on the same subject...?

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2011

    BookHounds

    Glen writes his daughter, Sara, a letter explaining what went wrong in his marriage to Liz and the events that lead up to their divorce. The letter is interspersed with the story of that time period. In a way, Glen is asking his daughter for forgiveness and trying to make thing right when he lies and tries to make her believe that the accident she witnessed as a six year old didn't happen the way it really did. Glen and his wife try to cover up his involvement in the accident by lying to the police when questioned about exactly how the accident occurred. I just really got a uneasy feeling from the actions of both these characters, especially his lawyer wife, Liz, who immediately wants a divorce to protect their assets. In parts, this book really creeped me out.

    The crux of the whole story centers around the accident where Glen tries to scare a wreckless driver by swerving a bit in front of him to stop his erratic speeding and instead the car rolls, killing the teen driver. Sara sitting in the backseat remembers details but not everything, she knows just enough to really incriminate her father. The main part that really bothered me about this accident is that, yes, Glen is partially at fault for the accident, but it would have not been as severe or even avoided, if the teen had been driving safely. The police who question him really seem to be out to get him since they know he is lying. Glen also is incredibly immature and this is shown in great detail when he stalks another driver who threatens him after a previous run in right before the accident. The story really brings to light how little things can add up to create a monsterous problem.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    Short and unsatisfying

    Quite possibly one of the most annoyingly stupid protagonists in literary history.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

    A Great Book, Praiseworthy!

    This book, although short, is definitely worth both your time and money. With strong character personalities it's easy to lose yourself in this novel. The book will really make you think twice before you do anything, even if you think it's the right choice at the time. One little mishap could happen to change your entire life forever. This is what you'd call a "real-life" book.
    I didn't read any reviews before I bought this book, so I was quite surprised when I saw this book's ratings. This book is MUCH better than these reviews may lead on. I am more than glad to say this has been a really good, short read and that I would definitely recommend this book to a friend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2011

    Eh

    While the daughter and father characters are fleshed out in this sparse story, the mother is unrelatable to me. She deliberately breaks up the family in order to preserve assets. The excuse, of course, is that she is ensuring a good future for her daughter but instead she destroys the bedrock of her daughter's life. All her plans and schemes hurt her daughter and are all for naught. The mother's character and ultimely the story seem unlikely to me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    OK, but could have been better

    Actually I'd give this book 2 1/2 stars. It was very predictable and just seemed like it could have been better. The teaser at the end of the book (What You Have Left) also by of Will Allison seems like it's a good book. Thinking of purchasing it next.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    NOT WORTH THE MONEY

    Short book, read in 2 hours. The adults in the book have no redeeming qualities-the Dad causing a horrible accident and then the Mother's extra cold hearted reaction. Save your money. Not worth it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2011

    Really

    Loved Mockingbird but this was not worth the money

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2011

    Not worth the money

    A VERY short book and not very good. Disappointed I spent $10 on only 100 pages.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2011

    Same Cover...

    as Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. Her book was out first.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 4, 2011

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    Posted May 30, 2011

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    Posted June 26, 2011

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    Posted June 12, 2011

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    Posted November 19, 2011

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    Posted January 8, 2012

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    Posted May 26, 2011

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    Posted August 22, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 91 Customer Reviews

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