Henry Bright has newly returned to West Virginia from the battlefields of the First World War. Griefstruck by the death of his young wife and unsure of how to care for the infant son she left behind, Bright is soon confronted by the destruction of the only home he’s ever known. His hopes for safety rest with the angel who has followed him to Appalachia from the trenches of France and who now promises to protect him and his son. Haunted by the abiding nightmare of his experiences in the war and shadowed by his dead wife’s father, the Colonel, and his two brutal sons, Bright—along with his newborn—makes his way through a ravaged landscape toward an uncertain salvation.
DON’T MISS THE EXCLUSIVE CONVERSATION BETWEEN JOSH RITTER AND NEIL GAIMAN IN THE BACK OF THE BOOK.
War is hell, and so is Henry Bright's homecoming from the trenches of WWI in songwriter Ritter's appropriately lyrical debut. Bright is a half-shattered veteran whose ordeal in combat continues with the death of his young wife in childbirth. Spurred on by an angel who speaks to him through his livestock, Henry torches the cabin where his wife died, using the family Bible to spark the blaze. Soon, the angel tells Henry his infant son is the Future King of Heaven, a replacement for the one "who has soaked the world in blood." Henry's desolation is believably crushing, sometimes darkly funny, and rendered with a lyricist's delicacy: against the backdrop of the forest fire sparked by the cabin's blaze, Henry, the child, horse, and a goat make their way to town, dodging his wife's psychotic family, who blame him for her death. "The sky was too dark for afternoon, and where the sun should have hung there was now only an undulating black curtain of heat, which pulsed through the windowpanes upon his face like the throb of an open furnace." As the fire threatens Bright's friends and enemies, Ritter evokes war, violence and the fearful and numb responses to trauma, squaring them up in a hopeful, humble revelation.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Incredible! Still reading but can't stop. I am a diehard Josh Ritter fan and listen to his music all the time so when I was looking up concert dates and I saw he wrote a book I ran to the Barnes&Noble to buy it. Definitley worth buying. Won't disappoint!