Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian

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Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives, presents his most ambitious and multi-layered novel to date--examining wildly divisive issues in today’s America with his trademark emotional heft and spellbinding storytelling skill.


On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terribly wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough, the shot that hit him was fired–accidentally?–by his adolescent daughter Charlotte. With this shattering moment of violence, Chris Bohjalian launches the best kind of literate page-turner: suspenseful, wryly funny, and humane.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Chris Bohjalian's The Light in the Ruins.  


About Chris Bohjalian

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CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of twelve novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages and twice became movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. Visit him at or on Facebook.From the Hardcover edition.
Published September 27, 2005 by Vintage. 448 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Before You Know Kindness

Kirkus Reviews

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The privileged summer of a prosperous family is shortened by a bullet in the night.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Before You Know Kindness

Publishers Weekly

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Bohjalian's new novel begins with a literal bang: a bullet from a hunting rifle accidentally strikes Spencer McCullough, an extreme advocate for animal rights, leaving him seriously wounded. Th

Sep 13 2004 | Read Full Review of Before You Know Kindness

Book Reporter

This novel is all about the happenings that lead to the Seton family's ultimate contentment and happiness, and all that leads to the reader's ultimate contentment and happiness with a tale.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Before You Know Kindness

Bookmarks Magazine

… But his depiction of Spencer’s animal rights colleagues—a ruthless bunch of emotionally stunted zealots who want to exploit the tragedy for their cause—belongs in a far less nuanced novel …" Jennifer Reese.

Oct 10 2007 | Read Full Review of Before You Know Kindness

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