Henry Bright has survived World War I with the special help of an angel that he takes home with him after the war. The angel tells Bright what to do and Bright obeys. Now, Bright is the father of a newborn son. His dear wife is dead and his revengeful father-in-law is chasing him through the woods of West Virginia. But the angel has a plan.
Song-writer turned novelist, Josh Ritter writes a captivating and beautiful story with unique characters and a touch of the super-natural in his first novel Bright's Passage. I imagine that as a song-writer, Ritter has honed his skills with lyrics. Writing a song, one is limited by length and must choose the perfect few words to create all the emotion and meaning of a song. With these skills, Ritter has created a story that is succinct and yet not diminutive. In fact, his use of the language is stirring and lovely.
Often humorous, Bright's Passage is also mysterious. Ritter gives the reader just enough information to keep the reader turning the pages in suspense and anxiety. He builds the palpable tension through brief yet effective scenes of the past and the dogged pursuit and flight of Henry Bright and his tiny son. However, the ending feels incomplete and some of the questions and mysteries are left unanswered.
Bright's Passage is also a novel that has left me a bit perplexed and it is completely possible that my views and opinions of the novel will change as I have more time to reflect on the characters, plot and themes. The novel is short enough that I may have to read it again.
One thing remains, Josh Ritter has a way with words and this compelling novel is a standard to his extreme talent.
I received a free copy of Bright's Passage through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for my honest opinion. No additional compensation has been received.