J. Robert Lennon’s cinematic, darkly comic novel Broken River opens with a terrifying scene: in the middle of the night, a couple and their child flee their modest home in upstate New York. But it’s already too late for them. As this violent panorama unfolds, a spectral presence—the Observer—watches with cold and mysterious interest. Before long, the house lies abandoned and falls into disrepair, until years later a new family moves in. Karl, Eleanor, and their daughter, Irina, arrive from New York City in the wake of Karl’s infidelity to start their lives anew. While Karl tries to stabilize his flailing art career, Eleanor, a successful commercial novelist, eagerly pivots in a new creative direction. Meanwhile, twelve-year- old Irina becomes obsessed with the brutal murders that occurred more than a decade earlier. As the ensemble cast grows to include Louis, a hapless carpet salesman who is haunted by his past, and Sam, a young woman newly reunited with her jailbird brother, secrets surrounding the unsolved murders come to light. All the while the Observer looms—a gradually awakening consciousness—as the narrative threads of this brilliant psychological thriller weave dangerously together.
J. Robert Lennon is the author of eight novels, including Familiar, Castle, and Mailman, as well as two story collections. His fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, Harper's, Playboy, and the New Yorker. He lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.
Dana Spiotta is the author of four novels: Innocents and Others (2016), a finalist for the Los Angles Times Book Prize; Stone Arabia (2011), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Eat the Document (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; and Lightning Field (2001). Spiotta was a Guggenheim Fellow, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, and was awarded the 2008-9 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Syracuse and teaches in the Syracuse University MFA program.
The most inventive and entertaining novel to date from a master of the dark arts (Kelly Link)
The first substantial collection of short fiction from "a writer with enough electricity to light up the country" (Ann Patchett)
A haunting, enigmatic novel about a woman who is given a second chance and isn't sure whether she really wants it
* A "Publishers Weekly" "Indie Sleeper" * A Powell's Indiespensable Pick * The "Nervous Breakdown's" October Book Club Pick *
From Dana Spiotta, the author of Eat the Document and Stone Arabia, "A brilliant novel...about female friendship, the limits of love and work, and costs of claiming your right to celebrate your triumphs and own your mistakes" (Elle).