Monday, June 21, 2010
Review of Then Came The Evening by Brian Hart (Bloomsbury, 2010)
Then Came The Evening has a measured rhythm, ticking along at a sedate, reflective pace. In terms of sense of place, themes and characters it reminded me of the writing of Daniel Woodrell. And like Woodrell, Hart is a fine wordsmith. The characterisation is well observed and I particularly liked the awkward, stilted conversations between the three main characters; the way scenes unfolded in ways shaped by conflicting emotions and unexplained irrationalities. Hart also does a fine job of capturing the landscape of Idaho and the fine web of relationships in small communities. The only thing stopping this book from being a knockout is some of the plotting. I got the sense that so much time had been spent on the prose and characterisation that this ended up being a little neglected. A fraction ragged throughout, about two thirds of the way in the story started to unravel a little (I won’t give spoilers), particularly the thread following Bandy. That said, the story comes to a satisfactory resolution that isn’t clichéd. Overall, a book worth spending time with and enough promise to suggest that Hart might join Woodrell as a great writer of country noir.