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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Already noted for novels filled with darkly stunning themes and images (The Names of the Dead, A Prayer for the Dying), Stewart O'Nan enters the realm of the supernatural with a thoughtful, sorrowful, and moving tale that revels in its Halloween backdrop.
One year after the tragic car accident that claimed the lives of three teenagers, their families and friends continue to agonize over the continuing consequences. O'Nan's narrative voice is graceful, meditative, and filled with a tension that underscores elements of the truly mournful. The three ghosts act as a chorus to explore the minds of the tragedy's survivors, including the police officer who is at least partly responsible. At turns humorous, forgiving, childish, and rude, they are at the mercy of whichever hometown resident happens to be concentrating on them at any given time, so that the spirits are forced to "beam in" on various neighbors. Each of these characters tells his own story, allowing O'Nan to smoothly switch vistas and provide a vivid panorama of emotion and understanding.
The Night Country is as much about being haunted by guilt, doubt, and responsibility as it is about being plagued by ghosts. Stewart O'Nan has not only given us a masterpiece of chilling poignancy; he's also written one of the most engaging, human, and heartfelt novels of the year. Tom Piccirilli