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Long Drive Home: A Novel Hardcover – May 17, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1 edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416543031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416543039
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


“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.” (The New York Times)

“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…” (People)

"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." (O, The Oprah Magazine)

“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.” (Entertainment Weekly)

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

“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.” (Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief)

“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.” (Brock Clarke, author of Exley)

“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.” (Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of American Salvage)

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.” (Lauren Grodstein, author of A Friend of the Family)

“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.” (Frederick Reiken, author of Day for Night)

"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." (Bruce Machart, author of The Wake of Forgiveness)

"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." (Porter Shreve, author of When the White House Was Ours)

“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.” (Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This)

Customer Reviews

His style is simple yet brilliant and he has a deep understanding of the human mind and conscience.
Utah Mom
It's one of the worst books that I have ever, well I can't say read because I don't intend on wasting my time finishing it, but you get my point.
This seems more like an outline of a story that could have been more fully developed with more character and plot development.
Regina Niesen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Utah Mom VINE VOICE on May 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Will Allison's second novel Long Drive Home is the story of one bad decision. One second. One reaction. And the many consequences that follow.

It could happen to any one of us and perhaps that is what makes this novel so powerful. Get behind the wheel of a car and suddenly many of us seem to forget that there are other real people driving the other cars on the road. The dangerous driver speeding and weaving in and out of traffic on the freeway without a care for the safety of others can make us angry. How do you react?

In Long Drive Home, Glen gives in to his road rage. He only means to scare the reckless driver. His one quick action will cause a deadly reaction by the teenage driver and set in motion a series of events and decisions that will drastically change Glen and his family's lives.

Will Allison writes well and has the gift of brevity, which is nice for a change. His style is simple yet brilliant and he has a deep understanding of the human mind and conscience. It is a powerful, frightening and riveting tale.

In this novel, Allison created believable and realistic characters and puts them in a situation where one man's ethics, responsibility and honesty will be tested to the limits. A person's true character and values emerge in the crisis and the natural instincts to place blame, to escape, and to hide the truth can unfortunately replace a person's integrity. A person's actions have consequences that affect others.

Honestly, it was at times a painful novel to read but it did inspire a lot of thought about how I hope I would handle a similar situation.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's rare that I start a book that is such a page-turner that I almost have a panic attack if I have to put it down. Long Drive Home by Will Allison is just such a book. It starts with a bang and the explosives just continue. It's not that the book is a thriller, per se, though there is that element to the novel. It is just that Will Allison is a born story-teller and he gets the reader in his grips from the first paragraph. And he does not let go.

Glen Bauer is a married father with a six year-old daughter named Sara. He is driving Sara in his car when he sees a police officer go through a red light. He gives the cop the finger and thinks all is over. However, there is a tough guy in front of Glen who thinks that the finger was intended for him. The tough guy stops his car, comes over to Glen and makes sure that Glen can see the gun protruding from inside his jacket. He demands an apology and, by God, he gets it. Glen is thoroughly furious now. His day has been ruined and he's not such a calm driver to begin with. He leaves this scene only to be cut off through three lanes of traffic by a teenager speeding along in a Jaguar. Glen is not a happy camper. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey, a quiet little burb and things like this just don't happen to him. He thinks he has seen the last of the Jaguar but he's wrong. It makes a u-turn and heads back towards Glen just as Glen is about to turn into his driveway. Glen decides to mess with the driver - he's furious. He turns his wheels to get in the same lane as the driver as if to play chicken and at the last minute, pulls away. Meanwhile, however, the driver of the Jaguar loses control of his car and hits a huge Sycamore tree, turning the vehicle over and over. Juwan, the sixteen year-old driver of the Jaguar is dead.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mary Chrapliwy VINE VOICE on May 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This well thought out tale by Will Allison was spellbinding, nearly impossible to put down. It's a story about how the actions of two people behind the wheel, can alter the destiny of both of their families. We know at the outset that Glen is the cause of a fatal car accident ... but is he really? We all know that the driver who was killed was guilty of reckless driving ... but was he really? You ponder these questions as you read Will Allison's tale and the fact that you are pondering this, and things aren't really so cut and dried, is what shows the skill of the writer weaving this tale.

This story is told in first person point view from the point of view of Glen, our main character. Allison keeps point of view very consistent throughout and he shows real mastery of writing. During the story we are treated to multiple excerpts of a letter that Glen is writing to his daughter that she will not receive and read until she reaches age 18. These letter excerpts were so personal, so touching, so well written that I would have liked to see more of them. When the second excerpt appeared, I was taken by surprise, a pleasant surprise. The problem is, there were also a couple points in the plot that were a little unbelievable. That's why I would say it was almost perfect, but not quite.

This is not so much a thriller or police procedural as a tale about how an action can have long range consequences and about regret that can nearly cripple you. The reader goes on a journey through pain and darkness with Glen as he tries to work his way to the other side of a moral wrong toward the light. It's a very good book, definitely worth reading.
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More About the Author

Will Allison was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and now lives with his family outside New York in South Orange, New Jersey. A contributing editor at the literary magazine One Story, he previously worked as executive editor of Story and editor-at-large of Zoetrope: All-Story. He has taught creative writing at Columbia University, The Ohio State University, Butler University, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and at the One Story Workshop for Writers in Brooklyn. He has also served on the staff of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. He received a BA in English and political science from Case Western Reserve University and an MA in English and an MFA in creative writing from Ohio State. He is the grateful recipient of grants, fellowships, and scholarships from the Indiana Arts Commission, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Ohio Arts Council, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference (including a 1996 work-study scholarship and the 2008 Allan Collins Fellowship in Fiction). His first novel, What You Have Left, was published in 2007 by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Paperback and audio editions were published in 2008, and a paperback reissue came out in April 2011. His second novel, the New York Times bestseller Long Drive Home, was published by Free Press in May 2011 (hardcover) and February 2012 (paperback).

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