BKMT READING GUIDES

Before You Know Kindness
by Chris Bohjalian

Published: 2005-09-27
Kindle Edition : 448 pages
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Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives, presents his most ambitious and multi-layered novel to date--examining wildly divisive American issues like gun control and animal rights with his trademark emotional heft and spellbinding storytelling skill.

 On a balmy July night in New ...

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Introduction

Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives, presents his most ambitious and multi-layered novel to date--examining wildly divisive American issues like gun control and animal rights with his trademark emotional heft and spellbinding storytelling skill.

 On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terribly wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough, the shot that hit him was fired–accidentally?–by his adolescent daughter Charlotte. With this shattering moment of violence, Chris Bohjalian launches the best kind of literate page-turner: suspenseful, wryly funny, and humane.


BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Chris Bohjalian's The Light in the Ruins.  

Editorial Review

If you imagine most writer's bathrooms (and this is probably a mistake) you'd picture damp towels in a clump on the floor, hair in the soap, a few mildewed paperbacks stacked on the counter. But it's impossible to picture Chris Bohjalian's bathroom as anything but an Architectural Digest centerfold: polished counters, not a stray thread on the plush towels, the modulated colors sparked to life by fresh flowers from a neighbor's garden.

Bohjalian's eighth novel, Before You Know Kindness, is a beautifully observed, delicately balanced portrait of a family that could only come from the hands of a tireless craftsman who keeps reaching into his story to straighten the tulips or tuck in a shirttail. It begins with two EMTs leaning over animal rights' activist Spencer McCullough's gushing shotgun wound and winds back through the ordinary days leading up to the extraordinary accident, and then forward again as Spencer and his family come to terms with what has happened. As ambitious as other Bohjalian novels, Before You Know Kindness spirals out to encompass the larger issues of Spencer's political loyalties and the heartless, passionate world of political spin. Some readers may find Bohjalian's style too smooth. Others will relish the completeness of his vision and his obvious tenderness for even the most difficult of his characters. --Regina Marler

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