Winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel
"Don't be fooled by the novel's apparent simplicity: What emerges from the surface is a tale of extraordinary emotional power, one of longstanding pain set against the pulsating drumbeat of social change."
-Sarah Weinman, NPR.org
For twenty years, Celia Scott has watched her husband, Arthur, hide from the secrets surrounding his sister Eve's death. But when the 1967 Detroit riots frighten him even more than his Kansas past, he convinces Celia to pack up their family and return to the road he grew up on, Bent Road, and the same small town where Eve mysteriously died. And then a local girl disappears, catapulting the family headlong into a dead man's curve. . . .
On Bent Road, a battered red truck cruises ominously along the prairie; a lonely little girl dresses in her dead aunt's clothes; a boy hefts his father's rifle in search of a target; and a mother realizes she no longer knows how to protect her children. It is a place where people learn: Sometimes killing is the kindest way.
Bent Road has been optioned for film in 2012 by Cross Creek Pictures with Mark Mallouk to adapt and Benderspink to produce.
Set in the mid '60s, Roy's outstanding debut melds strong characters and an engrossing plot with an evocative sense of place. When Negro boys start phoning Elaine, Arthur Scott's teenage daughter, Arthur decides it's time to leave Detroit and return to the small Kansas town that he left 20 years earlier after his sister Eve's mysterious death. His wife, Celia, resents the move that will put her close to in-laws she barely knows and that will change her family dynamic. That Arthur's younger daughter, Eve-ee, resembles her late aunt unsettles Arthur's older sister, Ruth, and Ruth's husband, Ray, who have never seen Eve-ee before. When a neighbor's child disappears, suspicion uncomfortably settles on Ray, who was suspected in Eve's death. Roy couples a vivid view of the isolation and harshness of farm life with a perceptive look at the emotions that can rage beneath the surface. This Midwestern noir with gothic undertones is sure to make several 2011 must-read lists.
The book was okay but not quite what I expected. The book was well written.
She did a good job of creating characters that represent the stoic Kansans I have known for seventy years. Except...I'm not a
Catholic, but I've certainly never known such a judgmental man of the cloth. Maybe it was needed for the story. And it was a fine story. The other characters rang true and variations of the situations are too visible in the real world. Urban people would be surprised at how many issues are handled by family and not authorities in rural areas!