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Broken River

Following a string of affairs, Karl and Eleanor are giving their marriage one last shot by moving with their twelve-year old daughter Irina from Brooklyn to a newly renovated, apparently charming old house outside the upstate New York town of Broken River. Before their arrival, the house stood empty for over a decade, the reason why no secret. Twelve years previously, a brutal double murder took place there, a young couple killed in front of their daughter. The crime was never solved, but theories have always swirled, and most locals consider the house cursed, its dereliction symbolic of the indelible stain of violence that occurred there. The family may have left the deceptions of their city life behind them, but all three are still lying to each other. Karl soon reverts to his old cheating habits. Eleanor and Irina hide their fascination with the house's ghoulish history from one another, taking perverse pleasure in separately researching their new home's bloody past. But Karl's digressions and Eleanor and Irina's unwelcome investigations have consequences, and before long their duplicitous actions unleash forces none of them could possibly have anticipated, putting them in mortal danger. This new novel by America's master of literary rule-breaking is part thriller, part family drama, part gothic horror noir - and like all J.Robert Lennon's novels, defies these categorisations to stand most of all as a work of unflinching moral purpose, showing the consequences of human deceitfulness, and the sometimes dreadful force the past can exert on the present.
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A stunning psychological literary thriller from 'a master of the dark arts' (Kelly Link)

About the Author

J. Robert Lennon is the author of eight novels. His fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, Granta, Harper's Magazine, the New Yorker and the LRB. He lives in upstate New York.


Compelling from the first page, and then smart, sophisticated, suspenseful and satisfying throughout -- Broken River is a first-class ride. -- Lee Child J. Robert Lennon is a connoisseur of calamity, qualms and paradox, all of which are on profuse display in his crafty, seductive eighth novel, Broken River... Broken River is a remarkable performance, a magic trick that makes you laugh at its audacity. Lennon has written a realistic novel with vivid characters and flashes of humour and an evocative mood... when you close a novel as good as Broken River, something, not quite a ghost, may follow you. -- Terrence Rafferty * New York Times * A cracker of a novel - sharp, dark and suspenseful -- Hephzibah Anderson * Mail on Sunday * What prevents Broken River from being classified as simply a horror or crime story are Lennon's linguistic energy and dark humour ... it's a rare book that manages to bend genres so successfully - that thrills and frightens while evoking such insight into human failings and the lure of the past -- Zoe Apostolides * Financial Times * Fizzing with line-by-line propulsion and wickedly plotted with slow-burn complexity, this is a knockout, unmissable performance from a writer at the very top of his game. * Observer * Broken River is like a Coen brothers movie set in rural New England... Lennon has a lot of fun... and we do, too. * Sunday Times * A writer with enough electricity to light up the country. -- Ann Patchett Hypnotic and unsettling, Broken River weaves a dark, compelling spell -- Mick Herron, author of Real Tigers Lennon's prose has a languorous, lingering quality with shifts of perspective and tonal jolts that make you concentrate all the harder. I might venture that Broken River ought to be on prize longlists, but as with the house, nothing is certain... There is a ghastly creepiness to all this, magnified by the cat-like elegance of the prose... Two thirds of the way through this novel, I fantasised about an epic Mexican shootout where Wes Anderson, Guy Maddin, Sofia Coppola, David Lynch and Kevin Smith argued about who should get the film rights. At the same time, I realised it is impossible to film. So much happens inside the characters: so much is presented as hypothetical. This is an astonishing, nasty, brilliant, upsetting work. * Guardian * J Robert Lennon's tautly constructed blend of literary fiction and thriller is a compelling cocktail, right down to its explosive and shocking ending -- John Harding * Daily Mail * A tense, surprising thriller, with perverse overtones of the Coen brothers variety -- Jonathan Lethem * New York Times * Broken River is a novel with multiple identities: it's a ghost story, a crime story, a coming-of-age story, a story about love and family and fiction itself. What is astonishing is how well all these elements work together, how they intertwine as seamlessly as the fates of Lennon's characters. As good as fiction gets. -- Ben Winters An intimate portrait of the violence we do to each other, about family and art and the scars of unspeakable acts. Broken River blisters and rips and ultimately soars. I loved it. -- Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls and Broken Monsters

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