Monday, August 8, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Northwest Corner

Northwest Corner by John Burnham Schwartz

Publication Date: July 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: Hardcover, 304pp
ISBN-13: 9781400068456
ISBN: 1400068452

(Received for an honest review from TLC Tours)

John Burnham Schwartz on the WEB: website, facebook

Discussion Guide from Northwest Corner


The New York times Book Review called Reservation Road " a triumph" and the novel was universally acclaimed. Now, in a brilliant literary performance by one of our most compelling and compassionate writers, John Burnham Swartz reintroduces us to Reservation Road's unforgettable characters in a superb new work of fiction that stands magnificently on its own. Northwest Corner is a riveting story about the complex, fierce, ultimately inspiring resilience of families in the face of life's most difficult and unexpected challenges.

Twelve years after a tragic accident and a cover-up that led to prison time, Dwight Arno, now fifty, is a man who has started over without exactly moving on. Living alone in California, haunted yet keeping his head down, Dwight manages a sporting goods store and dates a woman to whom he hasn't revealed the truth about his past. Then an unexpected arrival throws his carefully neutralized life into turmoil and exposes all that he's hidden.

Sam, Dwight's estranged college-age son, has shown up without warning, fleeing a devastating incident in his own life. In its way, Sam's sense of guilt is as crushing as his father's. As the two men are forced to confront their similar natures and their half-buried hopes of connection, they must also search for redemption and love. In turn, they dramatically transform the lives of the women around them: the ex-wives, mothers, and lovers they have turned to in their desperate attempts to somehow rewrite, outrun, or eradicate the past.

Told in the resonant voices of everyday people gripped in the emotional riptide of lived life, Northwest Corner is at once tough and heart-lifting, an urgent, powerful story about family bonds that can never be broken and the wayward roads that lead us back to those we love.


Author John Burnham Schwartz takes readers back to the lives of the characters made famous in his book, Reservation Road. In his latest novel Northwest Corner, the author picks up the story a decade after the events that led to Dwight Arno being disbarred and arrested. In a story about the bonds of family and finding redemption in the most unlikely of places, Northwest Corner will find readers glued to it's pages and wondering at how the never really stays put.

Dwight Arno has moved on after the tragic events that caused him to loose just about everything. He lives a low profile life in California and attempts to forget the night a hit and run accident changed his life. He goes about his day hiding the past from everyone, even his lover. Until his son Sam flees to Dwight after a bar room brawl ends his chances at becoming a pro baseball player. Sam's arrival threatens everything Dwight has done to shield himself from the pain of his past. Both father and son try to find redemption from the flaws that permeate their lives. Is there hope for finding love when their hearts are so damaged by lies and betrayals?

Having never read Reservation Road or seen the movie, I was a little hesitant with this book. The overall premise was compelling and I just had a feeling this one would be right up my alley. I was right! Author John Burnham Schwartz has created a cast of characters in Northwest Corner that takes the reader back to writers like John Steinbeck. Schwartz has a way of describing the bonds between family members that reminds me of Steinbeck's plaintive descriptions from The Grapes of Wrath. These are working class families who have worked for everything they have and their is this draw to them that is irresistible to the reader.

Schwartz's family has gone through some tragic circumstances and it appears that the son is much like the father. Flawed and remarkably compelling. Sam and Dwight are like most people, when faced with decisions that could ultimately change the course of their lives, they got scared and tried to manipulate the circumstances. In the end both men realize what they have done and hope that their can be some sort of redemption or atonement for them. Schwartz does an amazing job of bringing the emotions of these characters to the forefront. Readers will become so engrossed in what the characters are feeling that the situations they find themselves in will almost become secondary. The author has a great ability to make his characters become real to the reader. The reader will be reminded that this could happen, that people like these exist and move around us everyday. There are secrets and hidden meanings in almost everything.

This is a gripping novel that will capture the interest of the reader and hold them in it's sway until the very end. Schwartz shifts the point of view back and forth between all the characters of the book, from father to son, male to female and back again, taking the reader on a very fast paced journey through an emotional landscape that readers will fall in love with. They will root for the underdog or in this case the flawed men who are seeking to find a way to get over the past and move on. Even the cover of the book with the hole in the screen will remind readers that we often screen our own emotions, but they somehow always find a way out.

I recommend this one to any reader who loves stories of redemption and atonement for sins of the past. Readers who love stories about families and how they cope with the everyday tragedies of life. And to readers who loved John Burnham Schwartz's Reservation Road. It is a compelling and gripping novel that readers won't soon forget!

Northwest Corner is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

John Burnham Schwartz is the author of four previous novels: The Commoner, Claire Marvel, Bicycle Days, and Reservation Road, which was made into a motion picture based on his screenplay. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. A winner of the Lyndhurst Foundation Award for mastery in the art of fiction, Schwartz has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently literary director of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Aleksandra Crapanzano, and their son, Garrick.


This giveaway is for one copy of Northwest Corner by John Burnham Schwartz.

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~ US and Canadian addresses only (Publisher Request)
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST Aug. 22nd.

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Kelly said...

I have another book by him sitting around my house waiting to be read. I can't remember the title off the top of my head, but it looks good, and based on what you said about the book you read, I'm really looking forward to giving this author a try :)

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a very interesting story. One that I would love to read.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Martha Lawson said...

Sounds great! Another new to me author!

lag123 said...

I have not yet read any of his work but your review leads me to add this to my TBR list. Thanks for the giveaway!

lag110 at mchsi dot com

Tore said...

I have not read any of your books yet but they sound really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

Karen B said...

This sounds like an excellent book with compelling characters.

Amy said...

This book sounds captivating. I haven't read Reservation Road yet and I'd like to read that, too. John Burnham Schwartz is an author whose books I don't want to miss out on!

Thank you for hosting a giveaway!

Emma said...

Northwest Corner sound wonderful.thanks for the chance.

mamabunny13 said...

I haven't read anything by him yet but this sounds like a great place to start!
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

heathertlc said...

"redemption and atonement" can make for a wonderful, heartwrenching story.

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

dollycas aka Lori said...

Sounds like a great read. I have not read the previous book either so have been hesitant about this book but take you review and rating very seriously. I would love to win this book!pyp