After he winds up being responsible for a friend's death in Afghanistan, military contractor Henry Hayward tries to make amends back in the states by repairing his deceased friend's home—despite his history of having an affair with his friend's wife before the war. Original. 40,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)
A novel confronting the deeply personal effects of war with the emotional resonance ofThe Shipping News and the power of Tim O’Brien
Henry Hayward is a drowning man. In a quest to find meaning in an emotionally arid life, Henry travels to Afghanistan as an army-affiliated contractor, where he becomes embedded in the regiment with which his friends are serving. But everything changes during a tragic roadside incursion. And Henry, who survives, knows in his heart that he is responsible. After returning home, Henry feels more rootless than before. Matters are complicated by the grief of Martha, his deceased friend’s long-term girlfriend, with whom he once had an affair. Henry tries to make posthumous amends by planning to repair his deceased friend’s home, but he hasn’t taken family historyor Martha’s secretsinto account.
- (Penguin Putnam
This achingly resonant novel about the hidden fallout of war and every kind of human relationship packs a powerful punch with its sparse language, evocative scenes, and detailed observation of rural Newfoundland life. When Henry Hayward's life is rocked by his girlfriend breaking up with him, friends try to snap him out of his funk by getting him work with a civilian contracting crew in Afghanistan. During a routine patrol, a Taliban suicide bomber attacks the vehicle Henry and his two friends are in, killing one of them. Henry's enormous guilt at having inadvertently caused his friend's death by a careless action follows him home to Canada, where a series of bizarre accidents serves as background for Henry's further growth. He throws himself into restoring his dead friend's coastal family home in an earnest yet awkward attempt at personal redemption. In the process, he has a chance either to face his existential crisis and move on or to linger in it. Steer this toward readers seeking works stylistically similar to Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.