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Bent Road Hardcover – March 31, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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"Lori Roy masterfully mixes a noir approach with gothic undertones for an engrossing story about family secrets and tragedies. . . . Bent Road is one of the best debuts of 2011." — Oline Cogdill, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Top Customer Reviews
Indeed, it begins with the Scott family --- husband Arthur, wife Celia, daughters Elaine and Evie, and son Daniel --- returning in 1967 to Arthur's home in rural Kansas, the home he fled some 20 years before. The riots in their hometown of Detroit have prompted the move, but the Scotts discover they are trading one set of problems for another.
Little has changed since Arthur left his home on Bent Road following the mysterious and unsolved death of his sister, Eve. Her passing occurred shortly before she was married to Ray, and the locals have cast a suspicious eye on him, even after he married Ruth, Eve and Arthur's sister, in Eve's place. Ray nonetheless has been sinking into an alcoholic moroseness in the intervening period, interrupted only by explosive incidents where his temper has manifested itself with increasingly violent beatings visited upon Ruth. Almost immediately after the Scotts return, however, an incident involving another young girl --- this one gone missing --- awakens the memory of the prior tragedy, and suspicion is cast upon Ray once again.Read more ›
The writing paints a vivid picture. I could see everything happen so clearly, playing like a movie in my head. Stick Kate Winslet in there, and you have an Oscar winner. It's gritty. It's real. Yet despite all the tragedy and heartache, there still lies a real sense of hope in the end. There's just the whisper of a chance that maybe this family will get past this, break the cycle, and make a better life for themselves and their community.
I highly recommend this book. Lori Roy was able to find the beauty in the stark reality of this family. I was left wanting to know more about their future and past. I will definitely look for more from this author.
Copy of this book won in a First Reads contest.
room and playing with with the elder Eve's beautiful dresses, which still hang in her closet. Eve's death, an apparent murder, still haunts the town, and when a young girl disappears, folks believe that the same man who killed Eve has struck again. That man is Ray, Eve's former fiance. Now married to Eve's sister Ruth, "everyone knows" he's guilty, and living under that suspicion has ruined his life, turning him into a drunken wife beater. But now Ruth has her brother Arthur to defend her.
Bent Road is the story of a buried family secret, and the powers of destruction that such secrets hold. From the opening pages, a sense ofgrim foreboding takes hold and never lifts. Life on the farm is ordinary, filled with pies and casseroles, visits from the priest, and snowstorms. But death and violence are major themes, and the feeling that something is not right hangs like a pall; when the truth emerges, the repercussions are enormous, and not just for the Scotts. Atmospheric and haunting, Bent Road is an outstanding first novel, written with skill and subtlety.
The rural scene that the Scott's are suddenly thrust into is dark and foreboding: huge, wind-blown tumbleweeds racing beside a car at night seeming to appear as monsters, blind spots on unpaved roads, wild plants that can poison, chickens having their necks wrung as a matter of course, and snows capable of collapsing a residence. But most dramatic is the disappearance of a young girl, who eerily resembles Evie, which unleashes comparisons with the mysterious death of Arthur's older sister Eve, another Evie lookalike, some twenty-five years prior.
Typical rural claustrophobia is certainly evident: outsiders are resented, secrets don't last long, and unacceptable behaviors, like skipping church services, are sure to be rebuked. In the author's telling, in times of difficulty, even within families, exchanges are fraught with abruptness, misunderstanding, criticism, insensitivity, and can quickly turn violent. Her characters are unwilling or incapable of relieving pressures that have built among them.
Any efforts to resolve the mysteries are waylaid by the overall awkwardness and cluelessness of scenario after scenario. The writing is rather plain, often concerned with the banalities of everyday life: baking strawberry pies or Celia botching another country recipe. The characters are poorly developed: what makes them tick; are they educated; what are they thinking. A few compelling moments involving some of them can only go part way in rescuing this minimally conceived novel. In so far as the novel has legitimacy, it is an especially disheartening few of rural life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Couldn't put this book down at night, stayed up late nights reading. Keeps you guessing. So sad that it's over.Published 12 days ago by AU
This was my first Lori Roy book. I loved it and have since read a couple more. Love her style and can't wait to read Until She Comes Home.Published 1 month ago by R2cmama
Perfect writing. Every character stood out. I had to know more, keep reading. Lori Roy kept the mood continuous, the dialogue tight and this reader wondering what could possibly... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Valerie Buttler
Good book about the 60's in the midwest (Kansas). Well written and involving story about a family and their interactions. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Liz C, Los Angeles
This book took me deep into the lives of each member of this family. Writers like Lori Roy are nothing short of artists with words for a medium. Most impressive is Ms. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kat Maguire
This book kept me guessing till the end. Well written, got to point, no drawn out narratives, believable story, fast reading.Published 11 months ago by Mary Troiano
The writer wrote a very good story, but my challenge was trying to stay on track, follow the characters and distinguish whether or not a character was thinking, reminiscing or... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Chet