Northwest Corner

( 5 )

Overview

The New York Times Book Review called Reservation Road “a triumph,” and the novel was universally acclaimed. Now, in a brilliant literary performance by one of our most compelling and compassionate writers, John Burnham Schwartz reintroduces us to Reservation Road’s unforgettable characters in a superb new work of fiction that stands magnificently on its own. Northwest Corner is a riveting story about the complex, fierce, ultimately inspiring resilience of families in the face ...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (59) from $1.99   
  • New (10) from $1.99   
  • Used (49) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(755)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
*~*~ Brand New, Mint Condition. Never Previously Owned.*~*~ Ships Immediately *~*~ Hassle-Free Refunds If you Aren't Fully Satisfied ~*~*

Ships from: Deer Park, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$2.00
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(1551)

Condition: New
This is a brand new book. Fast Shipping-Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!

Ships from: fall river, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$4.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(1)

Condition: New
Brand New

Ships from: Las Cruces, NM

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$4.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(1)

Condition: New
Brand New Condition. Ships the next day.

Ships from: Las Cruces, NM

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$9.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(7)

Condition: New

Ships from: Lakewood, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$13.98
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(279)

Condition: New
1400068452 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. No remainder mark. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: FORT MYERS, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$13.98
Seller since 2013

Feedback rating:

(3)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1400068452 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. No remainder mark. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: LEHIGH ACRES, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$17.70
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(27)

Condition: New
New York, New York 2011 Hard Cover First Edition New in New jacket

Ships from: BARRIE, Canada

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$20.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(78)

Condition: New
New York, NY 2011 Hardback First Edition, 1st printing BRAND NEW Brand new hardcover with dustjacket, very fine, gift quality. 285 deckle-edged pages clean & tight. Publisher's ... review materials slipped in. Gift quality. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Newton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$45.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(148)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Northwest Corner: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

The New York Times Book Review called Reservation Road “a triumph,” and the novel was universally acclaimed. Now, in a brilliant literary performance by one of our most compelling and compassionate writers, John Burnham Schwartz reintroduces us to Reservation Road’s unforgettable characters in a superb new work of fiction that stands magnificently on its own. Northwest Corner is a riveting story about the complex, fierce, ultimately inspiring resilience of families in the face of life’s most difficult and unexpected challenges.

Twelve years after a tragic accident and a cover-up that led to prison time, Dwight Arno, now fifty, is a man who has started over without exactly moving on. Living alone in California, haunted yet keeping his head down, Dwight manages a sporting goods store and dates a woman to whom he hasn’t revealed the truth about his past. Then an unexpected arrival throws his carefully neutralized life into turmoil and exposes all that he’s hidden.

Sam, Dwight’s estranged college-age son, has shown up without warning, fleeing a devastating incident in his own life. In its way, Sam’s sense of guilt is as crushing as his father’s. As the two men are forced to confront their similar natures and their half-buried hopes for connection, they must also search for redemption and love. In turn, they dramatically transform the lives of the women around them: the ex-wives, mothers, and lovers they have turned to in their desperate attempts to somehow rewrite, outrun, or eradicate the past.

Told in the resonant voices of everyday people gripped in the emotional riptide of lived life, Northwest Corner is at once tough and heart-lifting, an urgent, powerful story about family bonds that can never be broken and the wayward roads that lead us back to those we love.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The literary tradition of the middle-class American male as a creaky vessel teetering on the verge of moral meltdown yet struggling to reconstruct himself has found its latest and arguably most adept practitioner in Schwartz (Reservation Road). Like Johnny Hake and Harry Angstrom before him, Dwight Arno is a man who has done wrong. A Connecticut tax lawyer disbarred after a fatal hit and run accident, he does not expect a chance at redemption, but it arrives in the form of his son, Sam, who makes a mad dash across the country and shows up at his estranged father's front door after a vicious bar fight puts an end to his dreams of baseball stardom. Pontificating discourses masquerading as stream-of-consciousness mar the narrative at times and inject a sanctimonious streak, but Schwartz is otherwise exceptional at describing the chemistry of desire, creating emotional tension, and making his characters feel more like flesh and blood than fictional constructs. Imaginative and taut, Schwartz's writing is seamless and infinitely inspired. (July)
From the Publisher

Praise for Northwest Corner

"The power of Northwest Corner, as its geographical center moves from Connecticut to California and back again, is in the way it asks the hardest questions of human experience with subtle grace...one of the most emotionally commanding novels of the year." -- NPR "Books We Like"

“Eloquently told…[an] elegiac, thoughtful novel…While this isn’t the first story about the indestructible bonds of family, it’s an especially nuanced and moving one.” -- The New York Times
 
“Poetic, introspective, evocative…one of the most gut-wrenching books I’ve ever read….In Schwartz’s hands, the narrative unfolds delicately, each chapter a puzzle piece that fits seamlessly into the whole. Grade: A.” -- Entertainment Weekly
 
“Daring as usual, Schwartz takes risks not just with his characters’ lives but in his writing…A bruised beauty.” -- Elle

“Finely wrought.” -- O Magazine

“In Northwest Corner, Schwartz delicately explores this broken father-son relationship, and how Dwight and Sam begin to reach out to one another…In short, finely honed chapters, Schwartz examines the state of mind of each of these wounded souls, drawing the reader into their fragile lives. This is a brilliant exposure of one modern family in moral crisis, a story that in some way touches each of us.” -- Bookpage
 
“Schwartz [writes] with a quiet artfulness, giving each character a unique and uniquely moving voice embedded within a consistently interesting and graceful prose -- and creating a structure and style that neatly reflect the story they frame, of piecing together a whole life that is at once the sum of its parts and much more." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
 
“Exceptional at describing the chemistry of desire, creating emotional tension, and making his characters feel more like flesh and blood than fictional constructs. Imaginative and taut, Schwartz’s writing is seamless and infinitely inspired.”
-- Publishers Weekly
 
“Stark and deeply effecting.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“Readers of Reservation Road will enjoy continuing the stories of these two families, linked by tragedy, while those who haven’t yet discovered this powerful writer are in for a treat.” – Library Journal
 
“How do survivors carry on after their lives are scarred by tragedy? What causes a legacy of violence to echo from one generation to the next? Those are the questions John Burnham Schwartz poses and answers with a gentle touch in this moving sequel to his popular 1998 novel, Reservation Road…Although Schwartz's novel can be appreciated without reference to Reservation Road, it will be especially rewarding for anyone who valued the depth of characterization, keen psychological insight and ability to sustain narrative suspense that marked the earlier work. It's unlikely we'll see the Arnos or the Learners again, but we can be grateful to their creator for allowing us to leave them with a fuller sense of their lives.” – Shelf Awareness
 
“I was enthralled by Northwest Corner, reluctant to tear myself away even for a moment from a tale so delicately assembled, so well paced. For me Schwartz evokes Steinbeck and Updike in that magical ability to weave out of a regional story of family, a broader chronicle of America…Truly a great American novel.” - Abraham Verghese
 
“The masterful Northwest Corner is that finest of things—a moral novel about mortal events.” - Dennis Lehane
 

Library Journal
A postgame bar fight leaves college baseball player Sam on the run and wondering whether he and his estranged father share a violent streak or at least bad judgment. His father, Dwight, can never make up for the accident that took a boy's life or repair his career or the family he left 12 years ago. Instead, he is going through the motions of starting over after serving his prison sentence until the day Sam arrives on his doorstep unannounced and troubled. In his fifth novel (after The Commoner), Schwartz explores the lives of characters damaged by circumstances and bad decisions, so it is gratifying when they move beyond crippling self-recrimination and begin their lives again. He adds depth to the characters he introduced in Reservation Road. VERDICT A well-crafted selection, ideal for readers with a taste for moral ambiguity. Readers of Reservation Road will enjoy continuing the stories of these two families, linked by tragedy, while those who haven't yet discovered this powerful writer are in for a treat.—Gwen Vredevoogd, Marymount Univ., Arlington, VA
Susannah Meadows
What makes this book work so well is that for all of Dwight's failings—perhaps because of them—we're squarely on his team. He's terrifically flawed…And yet, in that rich tradition of the defective yet captivating male protagonist, Dwight…wins our faith…While [Northwest Corner] isn't the first story about the indestructible bonds of family, it's an especially nuanced and moving one.
—The New York Times
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400068456
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John Burnham Schwartz is the author of four previous novels: The Commoner, Claire Marvel, Bicycle Days, and Reservation Road, which was made into a motion picture based on his screenplay. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. A winner of the Lyndhurst Foundation Award for mastery in the art of fiction, Schwartz has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently literary director of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Aleksandra Crapanzano, and their son, Garrick.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

SAM

“Arno—bus.”
Coach dips out of the locker room. Sam listens to the footsteps echoing down the long corridor and only now, knowing he’s the last, removes the towel draped over his head. He picks up the thirty-one ounce aluminum bat lying by his feet, jams it into the UConn duffel with the rest of his gear, and zips the bag closed.
The bus is already running when he climbs on. The row in front belongs to him now. The doors fold in with a sigh,  and Old Hank shifts into gear for the three-hour trip back to Storrs.
Evening is falling. Sam slides his headphones on and tries to become just another shadow.

Into the athletic-center parking lot the bus doors open: high fluorescent lights, pools of blue night. A gangplank waiting, all lit up. He’s sitting right behind Hank and should go first, but it feels less bad to stay where he is, headphones on, eyes nowhere, deep in the stump of his own mortification. Teammates start to shuffle by, smells of glove leather and greased eye black, hail-like rapping of spikes.
A hand on his arm. It’s Jake, his roommate. Sam lifts one side of the headphones an inch.
“Heading back to the room?”
Jake’s voice is almost insultingly tender. The comfort you receive when, bases loaded and two out in the tenth inning of the college playoffs, you strike out without taking a swing, ending your team’s season.
“Shower up, at least. You look like shit.”
Sam shakes his head gratefully.  The bat never  even left his shoulder.
“Okay . . . see you later.” “See you.”
Then the bus is empty, except for himself and Hank.
“This ain’t your goddamn limo, y’know.” Hank’s voice  a gravel bed, snowy buzz cut and jowly neck turned round on him from the driver’s perch. The dash clock reads 10:20. Out of respect, Sam pulls off the phones. A sigh from Hank as he levers the doors closed. “So, fuck it. Where to, DiMaggio?”

Where to is O’Doul’s, off-campus, third-choice watering hole in town, nobody’s date-night destination. The school bus pulls up outside. Neon fizzing through the windows, fun-housing the gloom.
He tells Hank to hold on, takes off his game jersey, and buries it in the duffel. He wishes the bag didn’t say UConn in big white letters—it’s not that kind of bar—but there’s nothing to be done about it now. He’s already down to the two-tone undershirt  with the sleeves hacked off below the elbow and the dirt-stained away-game pants worn low, no stirrups,  and the spikes  that make each step sound like he’s chucking bags of marbles.
“You’re a million bucks,” Hank growls. “Go get ’em, tiger.” “Thanks for the ride, Hank.”
“We all got bad days, Sammy.”
“Yeah.” Suddenly, he’s blinking back tears. “Stay out of trouble, now.”
The bus doors start to close before his foot touches the curb. By the time he passes through the entrance to the bar, Hank and his caravan are gone.

•    •    •
O’Doul’s is hot and crowded, the walls painted dark. A long time, Sam stands drinking  by himself. When a stool  at the bar finally opens, he slides onto it, the UConn duffel shoved down into the sawdust-and-gum shadows at his feet. A Bacardi mirror with fogged glass hangs above the backbar next  to a St. Pauli Girl clock, the clock’s hands frozen at twelve minutes to six, permanent happy hour.
“ ’Nother?”
The bartender, wiping under his empty bottle. “With a shot of J.D. this time.”
“Right up.”
He keeps forgetting. Trying to get back to just before—on-deck circle, pure ritual, mechanical drop of vinyl-covered doughnut over aluminum barrel, stretching the bat down his back and around, beginning to swing nice and loose. Watching the pitcher and timing the swing. Watching and timing till it’s second nature.
No such thing, he needs to tell Coach. Just the nature you’re born with, handed down through the generations.
He was thinking too much, even in the on-deck circle, before the first pitch was thrown. He can see it now that it’s too late. Not empty as he should’ve been, cleared out; too much junk in his attic. Thinking about what he’d do if the big chance came, what a game-winning hit would feel like. At the plate Stemkowski’s just taken ball three and Coach is in the dugout barking, “Good eye, Stem. Good eye, buddy!” The crowd (attendance announced at 683), roaring their heads off, as Stem watches ball four ride in tight under his neck and starts jogging up the first-base line, loading the bases. And Sam stakes the bat handle into the packed dirt, dislodging the doughnut, the weight slips off and the bat becomes a killing staff. And for about half a minute a raw brute strength he’s never personally experienced before comes surging through his shoulders down to his hands, and he strides into the batter’s box believing for once that it’s going to happen. The strength fills him, blotting out the past; till it takes him too far, tips the meter into the red; and because it’s raw and threatening and not really there, this illusion of power, already leaving, leads him to his father. It makes him think of his father. At which moment, the first pitch on its way, he knows in his sinking heart how it’s all going to play out.

DWIGHT

At 11:47 a.m., a man in a patterned  vacation shirt not unlike mine steps out of his Lexus SUV, followed by his young son. I watch them through the front window from aisle seven (baseball, softball, more baseball) in a moment of commercial respite and quicksand reminiscence,  a Rawlings infielder’s glove cupped over my nose, its hefty price tag flapping, inhaling  the bicameral whiff of factory-fresh leather. Trying, as ever, to situate myself in actual time and space. Call it a voluntary hijacking: I’m no longer in SoCal Sports in Arenas, California, in the year 2006, but in Pat’s Team Outfitters in North Haven, Connecticut, circa 1966. Not fifty years old but ten. Staring up into my old man’s wide  creased face. Absorbing that shark-skinned voice as he tells me he’ll buy me the glove I want, so long as I swear on my life to treat it right. But if he ever finds it food-stained or left out overnight on the lawn, abused in any way, he’ll thrash me with it, that’s a solid promise, and my playing days will be done. Do I understand? Already this dark shadow he’s casting over me and the thing I’ve always wanted. Which dooms me somehow, the little poisoned apple he’s offering. And still I crave the glove so much I’m going to give him the price he demands.
And then, before my first season of Little League is halfway over, early one morning he finds the Rawlings, that holy object of calfskin perfection, on our shitty, dew-soaked lawn. Just as he foresaw. I’m still in bed asleep, fielding grounders in my dreams, when he bursts into my room and beats me with it good.
Listen to me. These are the sorts of thoughts that too often come back while you’re spending thirty months in the hole. And after, too.
There’s violence in the air, even when nothing  is happening. The idea of personal control is just a noble pipe dream. What comes at you feels bitterly, in the end, like some echo of what’s inside you. Like any vessel only more so, a place gets defined by what’s in it. A hive hums and buzzes. A fist is nothing without rage.
The glass doors open: in come the man and his boy. I pull the glove from my face and replace it on the shelf. Dust myself off, as it were. The boy trailing off his dad’s hip at four o’clock, but looking up into that trusted face and smiling. The guy turning back over his shoulder—a joke just passing between them, or a story, say, about soggy doughnuts, wafting in from the parking lot like a cool breeze in summer. Their outward physical details less interesting to me by comparison, though still notable: the dad’s big expensive watch, like a hunk of gold bullion clamped to his wrist, the boy’s pro-model Dodgers cap and special-edition Tony Hawk slide-ons. Upper-middleclass family, I’d say. He a rising associate in one of the investment boutiques in the recently developed Arenas business  park or a tax lawyer taking a much-deserved post–April 15th day off; his boy, at ten or eleven  a promising private-school student with an easy, winning personality, though perhaps too enamored of skate culture and the slackers down by the piers and so already being prophylactically primed by his parents for a future boarding spot at the exclusive Thacher School. Lacrosse, I decide, this kid’s going to learn lacrosse, as the father checks their progress at the front of the store, the better to assess the aisles of merchandise and the somewhat dubious prospects for service. He spots Derek stacking  boxed volleyballs in aisle three. But a first lacrosse stick is serious business, and possibly Derek, who takes night classes in diagnostic massage at UCSB and is today wearing a purple sun visor backward, doesn’t look quite up to the task. So the man’s gaze turns ninety degrees—passing over Sandra, my boss’s fetching twenty-year-old  niece, at the register—to land on me in aisle seven. I suppose that, ignorant of my résumé, he mistakenly  considers me the safe bet for attentive shopping assistance in the store. And who can blame him? I am fifty years old, rel-
atively fit yet comfortably substantial. My red plastic SoCal Sports tag says dwight arno, manager in clear white letters. Under expected circumstances I would be a figure of rectitude and probity.
To which I can only add that I still want to be. I still remember what it feels like to be that man, and not a morning goes by that I don’t see his striving, confident image in the mirror of my thoughts. Which maybe is why, watching this father and son approach, caught in the glow of their radiant connection and prosperity, I can only stand in aisle seven, my mouth slack and my heart in lockdown. Still unable after all these years to relinquish my phantom grip on what I had and lost—a wife and son, whose health and happiness were my charge. I wore a suit to work and brought home year-end bonuses that make my current salary look like chump change. My young son and I used to walk into stores like this one and elicit from glovesniffing,  minor-league salesmen like me silent cries of want and memory. Because, for fuck’s sake, the goal of life must not be to lose it all, to cause other people grievous harm and suffering, to wholly give up one’s pride and respectability. To drop so low in the order of things that years later in an outpost far from home, clocking in for work and stepping forward to help a customer and his boy, you find yourself  besieged by ghosts and mauled by a  crippling  need for atonement. When, let’s face it, all the good folks really want is a lacrosse stick.

A girl squeezes in next to him at the bar, orders two drinks. Afterward he won’t be able to say what the drinks were or anything about her except that her hair was brown and medium-long and he never asked her to be there.
Leaning into him, her right side against his left, she hooks a heel over the rung on his barstool.
“You guys win?”
He shakes his head. “So, next year?”
A month from graduation, there’s no next year for him. “Yeah, I
guess.”
“You know my boyfriend?”
She gives a name,  kind of foreign, that he won’t remember till later. He just shakes his head again, not looking  at her, but she presses closer anyway, her right breast indenting against his biceps.
“He got cut from the team freshman year. Don’t tell him I told you, okay? He’s watching us.”
She’s drunk—he sees it now. Her face so close her lips are misting his left ear. Faintly repulsed, but not meaning harm, just needing space, he gives her a tiny nudge with his shoulder—to shake her off.
Too hard: his soft touch unbalances her. As if the wasted strength that earlier coursed through his body has cruelly lingered, turning back to waste. Her heel catches the rung of his stool and with a low cry and a surprising heaviness she tumbles sideways into the black woman on her left.
He’s in the process of standing, about to apologize, when  a hand grabs his shirt from behind and jerks him violently backward: for a moment, eyes rolling wildly over the browned ceiling, he is airborne.
His spine slams the floor, the back of his skull thuds into ungiving wood.
Dazed, internal flares dilating his pupils, he comes to on his knees in the rank-smelling sawdust: his brain fogged like that mirror, past the bartender’s betrayed glare, which continues to serve down his own stunned reflection.
To his wonderment, a small clearing has formed around him. People staring from a safe distance, as if he still has teeth left to bite.
Stupidly he kneels there, pawing at the back of his head for blood. The lugged sole of a boot splits his shoulder blades, catapulting him over the fallen stool into the bottom of the bar.
He lands on the UConn duffel, the aluminum bat crowbarring his chest—a blow so ferocious it’s like smelling salts, waking some older, vestigial pain. Rage rises in him like animal blood. And suddenly everything but what burns inside him is underwater-quiet. He doesn’t think; at last he just becomes. In one swift move he unzips the duffel, pulls out the bat, and, levitating to his feet, turns on his assailant—just another young buck like himself, and so beneath his pity—and drives the bat two-handed, with all the strength he’s ever wished for, into the guy’s stomach.

Perched on the edge of the bed in her underpants, ivory-colored bra dangling like a shot pheasant over the back of a chair, she slowly massages the  ruinously expensive homeopathic  cream into the notched side of her left breast.
The surgical wound has healed well enough, leaving the excised spoonful of private flesh invisible  to the uninformed eye in sixty-three percent of all lighting situations (her estimate). In any case, at this point it’s the Hippocratic approach, not the awkward visuals, that she believes matters most. Her healer in New Milford—as opposed to her oncologist in New Haven, whose relationship with the nonscientific branches of medicine is at best dismissive and at worst insulting—explained that the most important benefits of the cream, which contains some rare Peruvian or Senegalese bark and is of unknown  medical efficacy but certainly can’t hurt, might well come from its application, the simple yet mysterious possibilities of human tactility performed in a manner harmonious with the ancient Eastern wisdoms. An elderly Romanian with dark haunted eyes, the healer went on to suggest that perhaps this laying on of hands was something her husband could perform, would perhaps even relish doing on a nightly basis. (He claimed to have received anecdotal evidence to this effect from other patients.) And, sitting in his tranquil,  pleasantly scented office with the fourteen  potted plants, Ruth couldn’t muster  the courage or spunk to disabuse him of this idea, to tell him that, despite or because of the havoc wreaked by her rebellious cells last winter, she had sent poor Norris packing without informing him of her condition, and so would henceforth be establishing an unlicensed massage parlor of one.
Coming to the notch of missing flesh now, her fingers instinctively jump away, still refusing to acknowledge. She forces them back to the task at hand, to which they go reluctantly—showing, she guesses, that her mind is still strong enough to enforce its confused will. Nonetheless, the moment is disheartening. In the parlance of healing this is called spiritual, this not knowing whether something is going to kill you dead, this wool-over-the-eyes perplexity. And maybe it’s that. But, more than that, it’s simply a disgrace. At forty-seven, she has long accepted gravity’s attack on her better parts—she had great tits once, and the ass to go with them—but this cutting out of herself with a blade, this cold-blooded removal, however precise and necessary, is more than she can take. It makes her feel, unbearably and every day now, how little of her there was from the start.
The TV is on across the room, tuned to Good Morning America: a commercial for frozen pizza; another for hemorrhoid ointment. She is waiting with a certain embarrassing passivity for the preposterously jovial weatherman to come on and tell her where today in our great and hopeful nation there will be rain, and where there will be sun.
Where, indeed.
The cream is gone, traceless. She takes her fingers away. And the breast remains, inert yet screaming. She’ll try not to count all the things it’s saying to her—the  stage whispers  and threats, the self-pitying  beseechments and raging monologues—because they are hers. Somehow, without ever intending to, she’s become the mad ventriloquist of her own body.
She thinks about Sam. Who is hers, too. Who will bring her back to wholeness, if anyone can. So many times during their years together (which seem to her now the only years she can remember with any color), no matter what was happening to her personally,
this small victory or that massive mistake, just the thought of him, mother to son, was enough to situate her in his life rather than in her own, to grab her by the hair if necessary and yank her out of the self-regarding muck of her own existence and into the fertile,  ever-changing garden of his.
In order to see him she’s had to imagine him. To imagine him she’s had to truly love him. To truly love him she’s had, by some alchemical extension, to love herself, the mother she can be.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. What does the act of violence at the beginning of Northwest Corner tell us about the character of Sam?
 
2. How would you describe Dwight’s relationship with both his crime and his punishment?
 
3. What sort of mother would you say Ruth has been to Sam?
 
4. By the end of the novel, how would you describe Ruth’s feelings for Dwight?
 
5. Dwight’s feelings for Ruth?  For Penny?
 
6. Sam’s feelings for his father?
 
7. Penny’s feelings for Dwight?
 
8. How would you describe the role that memory plays in the lives of Northwest Corner’s main characters?  In what sense is the role negative, and in what sense positive?
 
9. At one point, remembering a meal with her separated parents, Emma Learner remarks, “This is what it is like to know you are not forgiven.”  Who do you think she’s talking about?  Forgiven for what?  Based on Northwest Corner, do you believe that forgiveness is possible between Emma and her mother?  Between Sam and Dwight?  Between Ruth and Dwight?
 
10. If you were to try to envision the future of the relationships between the five major characters in the novel, how would you imagine them?
 
11. How would you say the novel’s particular structure—the narrative continuously interwoven among five different points of view—affects the reader’s ultimate perceptions of the story and its meanings?
 
12. Has reading Northwest Corner changed your sense of what family is or can be?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Honest, powerful and deeply engrossing

    You don't need to have read or watched Reservation Road to appreciate the characters, their dilemmas or the writing in Northwest Corner. Schwartz captures the complexity, heaviness, and hopelessness so well.

    * Dwight Arno at fifty. He's been released from prison and built a new life on the other side of the country, surrounded by people that don't know his past. Only his employer knows about his record and it has never been an issue at the sporting goods store where he works. His old life as a corporate lawyer in Connecticut with a family and a beautiful house is another life altogether.
    * Sam Arno, a college athlete, who runs from his own tragedy. We learn how his childhood was tainted by his father's reputation and how Sam has worked to create a normal life for himself. The friendships that he's kept and the one girl that he is drawn to add another layer to the story.
    * Ruth, Sam's mother, faces problems of her own. As she struggles with medical issues, she fights her instinct to contact her son. Schwartz captures the delicate balance that we often fail to meet as we try to give people the space that they seem to want.

    The small actions and quiet dialogue convey so much emotion and complex personal histories. Northwest Corner is a powerful, engrossing read. Authentic and beautifully written, Northwest Corner isn't a light summer read, but it's a book that will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

    ISBN-10: 1400068452 Hardcover $26.00
    Publisher: Random House; 1St Edition edition (July 26, 2011), 304 pages.
    Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours and the publisher.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted May 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)