Title: Long Drive Home
Author: Will Allison
Publisher: Free Press
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
Harcover: 224 pages
Genre: Fiction, Suspense
From the Publisher:
In his riveting new novel, Will Allison, critically acclaimed author of What You Have Left, crafts an emotional and psychological drama that explores the moral ambiguities of personal responsibility as it chronicles a father’s attempt to explain himself to his daughter—even though he knows that in doing so, he risks losing her.
Life can change in an instant because of one small mistake. For Glen Bauer, all it takes is a quick jerk of the steering wheel, intended to scare a reckless driver. But the reckless driver is killed, and just like that, Glen’s placid suburban existence begins to unravel.
Written in part as a confessional letter from Glen to his daughter, Sara, Long Drive Home evokes the sharp-eyed observation of Tom Perrotta and the pathos of Dan Chaon in its trenchant portrait of contemporary American life.
When Glen realizes no one else saw the accident, he impulsively lies about what happened—to the police, to his wife, even to Sara, who was in the backseat at the time of the crash. But a tenacious detective thinks Sara might have seen more than she knows, or more than her parents will let her tell. And when Glen tries to prevent the detective from questioning Sara, he finds himself in a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game that could end in a lawsuit or prison. What he doesn’t see coming is the reaction of his wife, Liz—a panicked plan that threatens to tear their family apart in the name of saving it.
But what if the accident wasn’t really Glen’s fault? What if someone else were to blame for the turn his life has taken? It’s a question Glen can’t let go of. And as he struggles to understand the extent of his own guilt, he finds himself on yet another collision course, different in kind but with the potential to be equally devastating. Long Drive Home is a stunning cautionary tale of unintended consequences that confirms Will Allison’s growing reputation as a rising literary talent.
Long Drive Home by Will Allison is one of those stories that leaves readers in shock at how, under very realistic circumstances, something terrible could befall anyone on an otherwise ordinary day. Such is the premise behind this story, told in first person, of Glen Bauer and his drive home with his 6-year-old daughter, Sara. Glen was happily married to Liz and with their daughter, had a very comfortable, uneventful life, until Glen encountered a number of individuals on the road who slowly built-up anger within Glen, an anger that ultimately led him to make one foolish mistake. That one mistake leads Glen on a pathway riddled moral dilemmas, and at each of these decision points, Glen must decide between the morally right answer and the one that serves his instinct for self-preservation. This is an incredibly realistic thriller/suspense story that could literally happen to just about anyone. Allison masterfully crafts a fast paced plot that kept my attention from start to finish made all the more possible by the novel’s just over 200 page length. The page count is deceptively short for Allison gets a lot accomplished, and reader’s are taken on a tense, emotional, psychological ride through the turns of fate experienced by one Glen Bauer. I highly recommend Long Drive Home to all who enjoy suspense novels and think this would make an intriguing choice for a book discussion group.
Will Allison’s debut novel, What You Have Left, was selected for Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers, Borders Original Voices, and Book Sense Picks, and was named one of 2007′s notable books by the San Francisco Chronicle. His short stories have appeared in magazines such as Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer Train, and One Story and have received special mention in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Stories anthologies. He is the former executive editor of Story. Born in Columbia, South Carolina, he now lives with his wife and daughter in New Jersey.
To learn more about author Will Allison through his website.
I received a complimentary copy of Long Drive Home by Will Allison from Free Press. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.