Bandy Dorner, home from Vietnam, awakes with his car mired in a canal, his cabin reduced to ashes, and his pregnant wife preparing to leave town with her lover. Within moments, a cop lies bleeding in the road.
Eighteen years later, Bandy's son -- a stranger bearing his name -- returns to the town, where the memory of his father's crime still hangs thick. When an accident brings the family -- paroled father, widowed mother, injured son -- back together, the three must confront their past, and struggle against their fate.
Like a traditional Greek tragedy, suffused with the mud, ice, and rock of the raw Idaho landscape, Then Came the Evening is tautly plotted and emotionally complex -- a stunning debut.
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About the Author
Brian Hart was born in Idaho. He spent years working as a janitor, carpenter, welder, and commercial fisherman before earning his M.F.A. from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. He was the winner of the 2005 Keene Prize, the largest student prize for literature at the University of Texas. Then Came the Evening is his first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is another story of a family, but one that has been badly shattered. It begins about 18 years before the b'ulk of the novel. Bandy Dorner's life is out of control. His girlfriend, Iona, has left him and he is lying in his wrecked car off the side of the road. When the police arrive, he fights them and kills one, for no discernible reason. He ends up in prison for the murder, and 18 years later his former girlfriend 'tells him that he has a son, Tracy. She had been living with the man that she left him for, but he has died, and she is living with her sister and drinking too much. Her son leaves her to find his father, visits him in prison and then goes off to live on his own in the house that belonged his father's parents who are also now dead. The books shows how the three of them end up living together in this house and how they try to make something for themselves. It was often hard to like the book, because the characters are mostly unlikable. I wanted Bandy to pay more for what he did and what he continues to do. Iona acts in ways that made me want to scream. Tracy just acts too much like the dumb teenager that he is. The book contains some prison scenes that are disturbingly violent. I worked for many years with prisoners, and these accounts seemed very realistic for the most part
Then Came the Evening is a family drama that takes several dysfunctional characters and attempts to reunite them into a family unit. Bandy is a Vietnam vet newly released from prison with a violent past that includes shooting a police man. Ionna is the wife that left him and ran away with another man while unknowingly pregnant with his son. She's now a drug addict who turns tricks. Tracy is the son Bandy never knew he had who goes to visit him in prison to ask if he can stay in Bandy's old, falling down house. The story takes place in rural Idaho in the rugged American West. This is a violent, rather bleak look at people you're probably glad you don't know. It's surpisingly well writen and the author does a superb job weaving this family's struggles into a story. The author doesn't write with a lot of flowery prose. He has a very bare writing style that somehow fits this story quite well. If you're looking for a story with a happy ending, this isn't going to be it. It's a great read and the author's style kept the pages turning easily for me but I had a really hard time liking any of the characters in the story. I kept hoping they would somehow redeem themselves and it would all have a happy ending and that just didn't happen.