Then Came the Evening: A Novel

Then Came the Evening: A Novel

by Brian Hart

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608191536
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 07/01/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 526 KB

About the Author

Born in Idaho, Brian Hart spent years working as a janitor, carpenter, welder, commercial fisherman, and framer of elevator shafts before earning his MFA 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.
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.

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Then Came the Evening 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
AnnieLeo on LibraryThing 7 months ago
If I had to choose one word to describe this book, I would choose bleak. The weather was bleak; the relationships were bleak; the conversations were bleak. This is a family drama with three dysfunctional members, trying to make a go of it after the father returns from twenty years in prison. There are many bad decisions and plenty of non-decisions guiding them through their mistrust. Choices made twenty years ago still haunt them and drive their present choices. None has the skills to face what happened before and what is happening now. They just push through without understanding each other. I found the characters difficult to like, but I was compelled to find out how it was going to end. I think the book could have been longer, with more in-depth character development.The images I formed from Brian Hart's descriptions were clear and striking. I look forward to more of his writing.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I always enjoy reading debut novels, and this was no exception. I think Brian Hart has tremendous potential. Some of his phrasing was absolutely lovely. The plot, while very engaging, was a little choppy in an effort to cover large periods of time and then slow down for a while, then speed up again. This novel is a gritty, down-to-earth story of life, with all of its unpredictability, its unlikely pairings, and I really like that the ending is not fairy tale and not too dark.....just full of possibility. If the plot were less choppy, this would definitely be a 4 star read!
michaelbartley on LibraryThing 7 months ago
this is a powerful and dark novel. I didn't like the main character at all, he is by his own words a monster. I felt some affection for his ex wife, she did grow and became more ethical, she became a better person. their son, what the most sym. person, but I worry what he may become. There are a lot of holes in this short novel. I wish the author wold have filled in the history of the character more
7iffany on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I can't say I hated this book. I did read through to the end to find out what happened. But I was disappointed, not just by the ending, but by the whole book. The characters are admittedly flawed, but they are also unlikeable to me; there weren't any "redeeming qualities" so to say, or excuses for their actions. If something terrible happens, people react in different ways. These characters seemed to use bad things to do even worse things and I just didn't get it.
dre2131 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I received this book as an early reviewer and was pleasently surprised at how good it was - I enjoyed the writing style, and was great contrast to how depressing the book can be - the writer does a good job of keeping the reader engaged throughout the book with great descriptions of a small town in Idaho - almost made me feel like I was in Idaho myself - the 3 main characters all contributed to the depressing nature of the book, as they all seem to live a miserable life with or without each other - all in all, I would recommend this book as a good, yet quick read.
lgura on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A brilliant and devastating first novel by Brian Hart tells the story of Bandy Dorner who returns to his Idaho ranch after many years in prison to find a son he never knew, Tracy, and Iona, the woman who set the chain of events in motion the night he killed a man. The three try to face the feelings they have for each other, but the past gets in the way. There seems to be no escape from their bleak destiny. Hart's writing is magical, some of the most beautiful passages I have read in awhile. He manages to capture the people and the landscape in new and marvelous ways. An impressive debut.
sashzj on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A book that examines human capacity for redemption, Then Came the Evening is a subtle and haunting story of how we climb out (or don't) of the holes we dig for ourselves in life and how our success in this process effects the people who our lives touch.
momweaver on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This was a haunting book about flawed people and their dysfunctional relationships. It was beautifully written -- their pain is all over the page. His descriptions Idaho and the people living here are spot-on.
kjeanqu on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book is depressing but wonderful. The depth of emotion felt by the characters is starkly, but gently told and the longing for love and life pulses through the entire story. Each character's wounds and mistakes are told in a way we can relate to. A book such as this that deals with everyday people, struggling, living and dying in an imperfect but realistic world is something not to be missed. Brian Hart reminds me some of Kent Haruf. Real stories about people and things that touch us deeply. This is very much worth reading, I look forward to more from this author.
livebug on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This won't be the first review to call this book bleak, nor probably the last. Parts of this were beautiful and parts were intense, but there's a thread of hopelessness and inevitability that keep it from being truly enjoyable. Like the Beans of Egypt, Maine, by Carolyn Chute, these characters can't break free from the paths they've been set on. Tragic.
catscritch on LibraryThing 7 months ago
What do relationships cost? And do you really get what you pay for? "Then Came the Evening" bulges from the weight of one family's discoveries and disenchantment. I didn't know these people, but I have a sweet understanding for them now. Brian Hart gives the reader just enough to fill in the blanks yet, never truly puts all the pieces in place. The thrill is in reading passage to passage as quickly as possible to learn the details. The scenery, the background, the daily struggles of isolation. And yet I'm left wondering, do I sing the praise of progression, or lament the decay of a singular family. Both feelings grip my heart and will keep me thinking a long time to come.
pdebolt on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This novel is set in a bleak landscape that is a fitting back drop for the characters - Bandy Dorner, his common-law wife, Iona, and their son, Tracey. After serving 20 years in prison for murder, Bandy returns to the place where he grew up and begins to forge a relationship with a son he didn't know he had and, once again, with Iona. There is an unstated depth of feeling in the communication and interactions among these three wounded, vulnerable people. Brian Hart makes his readers wonder how their lives would have been had they made different choices so many years ago. Brian Hart writes beautifully in a style that enhances the starkness of the background and lives of his characters.
samfsmith on LibraryThing 7 months ago
A dark, somber, moody novel, but expertly written. It tells the tale of a shattered family: the father in prison for murder, the mother hitting rock bottom, the 20 year-old son never knowing his father. Things really get going when the father gets out of prison and the son attempts to bring the family together on the deceased grandparent's old ranch. But the father cannot change, the mother's guilt is overpowering, and the son grows away from them, forming new bonds.What is disturbing is the cavalier attitude of the father toward murder. He is not a psychopath, or even even disturbed - he seems perfectly normal, yet thinks nothing of shooting a policeman, for instance.Despite the dark tone, it is an excellent book, well written.
aimless22 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Brian Hart creates a lyrical tale of three people living their lives with the ongoing ramifications of decisions made long ago.Mr. Hart spends one chapter on those decisions: Bandy Dorner shoots a cop and goes to jail. Iona burns down the cabin that she lived in with Bandy and takes up with her new man,Bill, and her unborn son.Eighteen years later, Iona informs Bandy of their son's existence. That son, Tracy, flees his home and goes to see his father in jail. The two strangers have little to say to each other, but Tracy is running to his parents' past as they try to live with the choices they made. This fractured family comes together after an accident involving Tracy. But can they be a family?Mr. Hart writes beautiful phrases and creates interesting metaphors. Iona returns to Lake Fork Idaho: "The day was windless and along the banks the snow was mounded smooth against the straight edge of the dark water like porcelain cupping black coffee." (69) A description of the moon in a hazy sky: "a snowball dropped in black water, ripples spreading from it."Tracy runs to Lake Fork. Iona ran from then returns to Lake Fork. Bandy violently escaped from then returns to Lake Fork. They all now have the town in common, but have difficulty living in it together. Their attempts to create a family atmosphere for Tracy as he recovers hit roadblocks.Bandy has an unwanted debt to pay.Tracy has fears to conquer and needs to do that alone.Iona has a life to rebuild from the ground up.As one and individually, these three people are almost strangers to each other yet they make their way through their days in Lake Fork, trying to atone for bad decisions they made in the past and new decisions that may or may not prove wise.Iona hopes that there is "potential for family, for normalcy" (251), but that dream may be unrealistic. The Dorner characters are fleshed out and minor characters are intricately woven into the lives of the Dorners.A well-conceived debut novel.
csayban on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Bandy Dorner was a hard drinking, hard fighting man when he went to prison for murdering a police officer. Eighteen years later, he is a broken man with deteriorating health. Now as he is about to be released, he finds out he has a teenage son, Tracy, who wants to discover who his father is. Tracy¿s mother Iona has never been there for her son, but when Tracy is severely injured, Bandy and Iona find themselves returning to the small rural Idaho town where it all began and ended so badly only to discover that the place they once knew was as changed as they were. Then Came the Evening is a tragic character sketch of a dysfunctional family that can¿t set the past aside to embrace the second chances they have been given. Brian Hart tells the story with a gritty, edgy voice which lends credibility to the harsh Idaho backcountry where clashes between new and old are frequent and sometimes violent. Much of the story revolves around Bandy and his fitful attempts to restart life as a free man when he can¿t remember what life outside of prison is. Not everything in Then Came the Evening works well. At times the dialog is stilted. Some of the descriptions become ponderous as Hart veers off course attempting to highlight a point. However, he writes with a certain patience that is refreshing. Rather than beat you over the head with turmoil, he allows the strain of their tragic lives to boil up slowly. As a character-driven novel, it took some time for the characters to actually come alive, but I found that the story really hit its stride in the second half of the book. In the end I found it to be a quite enjoyable book and a worthy read from a first-time author who should be watched for in the future.
jastbrown on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is one of the most amazing first novels that I've ever read. There are authors with many books under their belts who would be very pleased to be able to write this well.It's a raw, hard subject written with compassion and understanding, relating the story of a poorly educated Vietnam veteran and his wife, living in rural Idaho.. slipping, sliding and diving headfirst, deeper into their seemingly inescapable roles as a more dysfunctional family than most! Their path is paved with apathy, drugs, crime and despair. Their only hope.. clinging to the ambitions of their son.I would recommend this novel wholeheartedly and look forward to Mr. Hart's next book.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This dark family drama is a riveting read I found hard to put down. The bleak landscape, so well-drawn, provides the perfect backdrop for the story of Bandy, Tracy, and Iona. Reading this book, I couldn't help but reflect on how if put me in mind of No Country for Old Men- it has that same deftly rendered cinematic feel to the background. I was surprised by how invested I felt in these characters, whose lives are far outside my realm of experience. I was sorry when the book ended, because despite that lack of personal connection, I was drawn into the world Hart created. I certainly hope to read more by this talented author in the future.
knomad on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Excellent debut. Strong vital writing anchored in the desolate heartland of america. Comparisons to Cormac McCarthy are apt though his writing is not as rich it packs the same emotional wallop.
leighwh on LibraryThing 7 months ago
First novelist, Brian Hart, has made a fine start to what this reader hopes will be a long and rewarding writing career. He tells the story of a family dysfunctional and broken from the very start and the journey of the son back to the deserted and desolate "homeplace," where he attempts to find his own way in the world. And ultimately, he is the gravity that pulls in his wayward mother, then convicted murderer father - the family together for the first time, if only to recognize the pain and loss they have caused each other. Bleak, clipped writing style - reminds this reader of Cormac McCarthy - matches the landscape and the failure of relationships, with only mere glimmers of hope for renewal.
mckall08 on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I liked "Then Came the Evening." The ethos of small rural towns, outdoors scenes, country people, and the overwhelming power of family reminded me of "Water Dogs" by Lewis Robinson.The writing is eloquent in the descriptions of the inner and outer lives of the characters never hits a false note.
alisonHMS on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Hart brings together a group of flawed characters and, without sentiment, shows us their struggles with redemption. Evocative at times of Proulx and Cormac McCarthy with its spare language and landscape, "Then Came the Evening" is not a pretty book nor one that neatly answers all questions. The characters confront the consequences of bad decisions head-on, at times by continuing to self-destruct. The three main characters -- the father who is freed from a lengthy jail sentence, his long-estranged wife, and unmet son -- intersect in ways that push their individual boundaries and make them question themselves and their relationships with each other. At times heartbreaking, the characters seek each others' trust and redemption, opening them to some tender connection as well as to fresh disappointment.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This is an intense book. It's not a feel good book, but rather an investigation of relationships and the lives of those who live on the edge of poverty. The setting is stark and beautiful--the wilds of Idaho. I've never been there, but I had no trouble picturing the trees,the clouds,the winds,the gulleys,the old barns,and the valley.The scene is haunting.The characters are intense. There are three: Bandy, Iona, and Tracy. While several others play more than cameo roles, these three broken, dysfunctional, hurting, needy people form the basis of the story and and keep us from putting down this book while we read how they try to mend their lives and the lives of those they hurt.The story itself is intense. There are action scenes,and scenes of incredible stillness watching two or three people trying to puzzle out what to say, where to go, what to do next. While there is no plot per se, there is a distinct beginning, a page-turning middle and a clear and dramatic end. The reader is pulled in from the very first pages and marches inexorably to an end at once fearful and hopeful.Bandy Dorner, home from service in the Army, awakes from a drunken stupor in his crashed car, to find his house burned to the ground, and his pregnant wife gone. There's a struggle with the arresting law enforcement persons, and when next we see Bandy,the convicted felon sitting in a prison 18 years later facing the son he never knew he had. Tracy, tired of living with his alcoholic mom Iona, has run to meet and claim his other parent.Iona manages to provide for her son during those long years of Bandy's imprisonment by first marrying an OK guy, and moving to Washington State. Then when that husband dies, Iona finds herself working a series of dead-end jobs, and moving in with her sister. Both ladies find it easier to 'bring home the bacon' by servicing gentlemen in their bedroom rather than waiting tables, or running a cash register, as long as the booze and drugs are well stocked. As soon as he is old enough, Tracy sets out to find his roots. After visiting his father in the prison, he returns to the original family homestead in Idaho and begins to rebuild. When his father is released from prison, and his mother sobers up and comes to find the son she finds she misses, the three of them begin a slow waltz, circling each other, measuring how much effort building a relationship as well as a house will take. Brian Hart gives us a gut-wrenching story in clean, clear, poetic prose. There is pain, hurt, violence, and heart-breaking betrayal while at the same time there is love, forgiveness, tenderness, and reaching out to rebuild what has been lost. We find ourselves routing for these people even as we fear the possibility of a train-wreck.The ending is absolute dynamite. This debut novel is destined to become one of the most read this year and in the future. We should all hope that Hart has more in his repetoire where this came from. It's a keeper.
BlackSheepDances on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Hart is masterful in his level of detail: I felt like I had actually visited the locations near Lake Fork that he described. None of his characters are typical, in fact, they are all unusually complex, which makes the reading very interesting. There's many surprises in this novel, as the story weaves through many different lives. I enjoyed the detail of it all.However, the mood of the novel is hard to grasp. It's not just that it is depressing (it is) but also that I couldn't seem to focus on one character long enough to be drawn to them before he switches characters. It seemed like he jumped around characters so frequently that none of them were fully developed and I couldn't grasp a warmth or "pull" to any of them or their plight. And it frustrated me that there was never really any attempt to explain why the characters acted as they did (except for Tracy). I just felt like it was a bit disjointed, and wish there had been more focus on developing a single character or two, rather than placing so many complicated characters in without more depth.
Hagelstein on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Bandy Dorner is a minor small-town drunken screw-up - until the day he kills a local cop. Then he becomes a major screw-up. When the first Iraq war begins Bandy is ¿relieved that the U.S. was again at war because it meant that his country finally hated someone more than him.¿ After twenty-years in prison he returns home to his common-law wife, Iona, and Tracy, the son he¿s never known. Struggle envelopes ¿Then Came the Evening.¿ Every page contains it. Bandy Dorner struggles in prison, then when he gets out. Iona struggles in his absence, then to adapt to his return. Tracy struggles to find his place in the adult world ¿ and Bandy¿s world. They all struggle to connect as they circle each other warily throughout the book. This is a stark, well-crafted story of lost and damaged souls, but it is not without a glimmer of hope at the end.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing 7 months ago
I took a long time to read Then Came the Evening. I found myself savoring passages, rereading pages. Brian Hart has a way with words and the sentences he forms with them are devastating. In a word Then Came the Evening is grim. It is lips pressed together on the face of reality. It is looking for truth in a shattered mirror. Bandy, once a loser, is always a loser whether he tries to be or not. While his wife, Iona, and son, Tracy, come back to him, they returned to him broken and ruined. His wife is no longer his wife and his son was never his son. History ties Iona to Bandy and haunts their future. DNA ties Tracy to Bandy and forces a relationship. In the struggle to make sense of their life together Bandy, Iona and Tracy never completely trust one another. They dance around old feelings and new guilt. Their future together looks gray and foreboding. Even the landscape is sullen and unsatisfying.There was only one instance that bothered me. Bandy and his son are watching television, trying to have a conversation beyond talking about the weather. This is their first night together and are talking about their health problems and physical limitations. Tracy asks Bandy, "What about you? The last time I saw you, you were a beast." (p 120) What last time? Does he mean he's seen pictures of his father when he was healthy? When Iona left with her lover she was pregnant. Bandy didn't even know he had a son until Tracy was 18 years old. When, exactly, was the last time Tracy saw his father?