Bright's Passage by Josh Ritter

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Synopsis

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Henry Bright has newly returned to West Virginia from the battlefields of the First World War. Griefstruck by the death of his young wife and unsure of how to care for the infant son she left behind, Bright is soon confronted by the destruction of the only home he’s ever known. His hopes for safety rest with the angel who has followed him to Appalachia from the trenches of France and who now promises to protect him and his son. Haunted by the abiding nightmare of his experiences in the war and shadowed by his dead wife’s father, the Colonel, and his two brutal sons, Bright—along with his newborn—makes his way through a ravaged landscape toward an uncertain salvation.
 
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About Josh Ritter

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Josh Ritter is a songwriter from Moscow, Idaho. His albums include The Animal Years and So Runs the World Away. Bright's Passage is his first novel. He lives in New York.
 
Published June 28, 2011 by The Dial Press. 210 pages
Genres: Other, Literature & Fiction, History, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bright's Passage

Kirkus Reviews

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his time in France, where one fellow soldier died in a trench in mid-sentence and another saved him from a massacre by falling dead on top of him;

May 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

The New York Times

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The fact that Rachel is Henry’s first cousin doesn’t seem to concern either Henry or his angel, who — speaking through Henry’s horse — officiates at the jackleg marriage ceremony in a backwoods farmyard.

Jul 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Publishers Weekly

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Henry's desolation is believably crushing, sometimes darkly funny, and rendered with a lyricist's delicacy: against the backdrop of the forest fire sparked by the cabin's blaze, Henry, the child, horse, and a goat make their way to town, dodging his wife's psychotic family, who blame him for her ...

Apr 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

The Wall Street Journal

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(On the evidence of the Great War, the angel considers the current King inadequate.) Bright is incredulous at the angel's increasingly zealous demands, and Mr. Ritter shows a fine comic touch in the crabby contretemps between the reluctant backwoods prophet and his mangy horse.

Jul 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Kirkus Reviews

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Josh Ritter has been writing novels for the last decade—he just didn’t meet the word count.

Jun 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Book Reporter

I love Josh Ritter's brilliant songwriting: it's adventurous and literate, displaying an endless variety of style and content, and, above all, it's respectful of its listeners' intelligence.

Jul 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

AV Club

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Throughout the opening chapter, Ritter continues to drop in references to an “angel” Bright converses with, an angel whose suggestions occasionally save Bright’s life, but occasionally lead to terror and destruction, as when it suggests Bright burn down his cabin to evade the pursuit of the Colon...

Jun 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Los Angeles Times

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'Henry Bright,' the angel said, finally breaking the silence, 'do as I say.'" Bright sets the fire and after he departs, it begins to spread to the forest behind him, growing into a full-fledged wildfire heading toward the same town he is.

Jun 29 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Gather Books

The angel also tells Henry to burn down his cabin, which unfortunately leads to a wildfire that threatens to burn down a large chunk of West Virginia.With his baby, the horse, and a goat, Henry tries to stay ahead of the fire and winds up in a coal-mining company town where he finds refuge at a h...

May 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Historical Novel Society

Josh Ritter’s Bright’s Passage tells the story of Henry Bright, who returns from military service in World War I to steal away his “wife,” Rachel, and reclaim his mother’s dilapidated cabin the West Virginia mountains.

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Independent.ie

While closer in quality to Vlautin's books than Eminem's acting, Bright's Passage isn't quite there as a great novel: it signposts a potentially significant talent, but as Stephen King said in review, "Ritter has not ...

Jun 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Austin Chronicle

In his long-form debut, Bright's Passage, Ritter explores magical realism through Henry Bright, a West Virginia orphan attached to an angel dispensing sometimes life-saving, sometimes devastating advice.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

Star Pulse

Contribute Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest RSS Starpulse Mobile Newsletter News Celebs TV Movies Music Photos Contests Video Biography Discography News Pictures Ringtones Conce...

Jun 26 2012 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

The Coast

While the plot, at times inconsistently engaging, leads towards an ambiguous conclusion, in the end it is Ritter’s palatable prose that makes this book worth reading.

Dec 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Bright's Passage

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Michael Manley 18 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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