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Patrick Somerville’s new novel This Bright River is a lesson in how contemporary storytelling should function. The book is hell-bent on pursuing questions of modern experience, but doesn’t abandon the kind of sensitivity and interior investigation that I think we expect from these types of big literary novels. You may have read about the very public misreading that the book was given in an influential publication, or Mr. Somerville’s graceful treatment of the issue on Salon.com, but let's not focus too much focus on that.

From the publisher’s copy: "Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance. Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier. As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?"

Mr. Somerville and I spoke about craft, videogames, and some other interesting stuff. (Interview after the jump.)