Then Came the Evening

by Brian Hart Fiction

  • US Bloomsbury Publishing (December 2009, 262 pages)
  • UK Bloomsbury Publishing

A riveting, psychologically rich family drama set in the American West, from a writer who has been compared to Cormac McCarthy.

Bandy Dorner, home from Vietnam, awakes with his car mired in a canal, his cabin reduced to ashes, and his pregnant wife preparing to leave town with her lover. Within moments, a cop lies bleeding on the road.

Eighteen years later, Bandy is released from prison. His parents are gone, but on the derelict family ranch, Bandy faces a different reunion. Tracy, his now teenaged son, has come to claim the father he’s never known. Iona, Bandy’s ex-wife, has returned on the heels of her son. All three are damaged, hardened, haunted. But warily, desperately, they move in a slow dance around each other, trying to piece back together a family that never was; trying to discover if they belong together at all.

With unflinching honesty and restrained beauty, Brian Hart explores the possibilities and limitations of his characters as they struggle toward a shared future. Like a traditional Greek tragedy, suffused with the mud, ice, and rock of the raw Idaho landscape, Then Came the Evening is tautly plotted and emotionally complex—a stunning debut.
Then Came the Evening US Cover
Most impressive is Hart's ability to conjure rich and conflicted characters in an uncommon situation; his handling of the material is sublime.

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Brian Hart’s Then Came the Evening shows us the hidden America, a world of remote holdings, long memories, fierce yearnings, and violent strivings. He dramatizes this world with an immense care and tenderness...

Colm Tóibín, author of Brooklyn

A quietly exceptional début novel... The author is... an astute observer of the transitional Western landscape.

The New Yorker

Hart explores, with brutal honesty and a delicate respect for the strength of the individual spirit, the human needs for love, for continuity after death, and for redemption. His depiction of the effects of poverty, violence, and drugs on the human spirit is acute and poignant.

Booklist

Hart's evocative debut traces the long descent of a tragic Western figure straight out of a Sam Shepard play... A haunting Western tale.

Kirkus Reviews