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Lou Berney Interview -November Road (part 2 of 3)

Wyatt Rivers is a low-rent Las Vegas P. But back in the summer of , when he was 15 years old and working at a movie theater in Oklahoma City, he was the only person left alive when three masked gunmen robbed the theater, killing the manager and the other five teenagers on staff. Zoe Goldman, a young psychiatrist doing her residency at a Buffalo hospital. That mother fixation also draws her to a new patient, a certifiable psycho who murdered her own mother at the age of 14 and has spent more than 20 years in state mental wards.

Book Review Minding the Kids.


A version of this article appears in print on , on Page 29 of the Sunday Book Review with the headline: Minding the Kids. Both characters seem to have lost, not just the people or person they loved the most, but also their ability for intimacy, for true human connection. The tragedies they have survived have left Wyatt and Julianna outsiders, observers unable to participate fully in their own lives, or to create meaningful relationships with others.

Oklahoma City becomes the third major character in the novel. Almost a decade after the movie theater murders and Genevieve's disappearance, the Murrah bombing literally rocked the city, bringing a collective grief and devastation.

Book review: 'The Long and Faraway Gone' by Lou Berney

But in the aftermath of the bombing, revitalization money poured in, allowing the city to flourish in new and unexpected ways. Berney deftly illuminates the way that the city has changed and grown by showing it through Wyatt's eyes as he returns for the first time since high school. It's almost as if Wyatt can scratch the paint off of the current thriving Oklahoma City and see below the struggling oil bust town he knew so well in And so Wyatt and Julianna's loss, grief and struggles toward redemption represent -- on a smaller and more personal scale -- what the city itself has been through.

Berney fans eagerly awaiting Shake's third installment should be happy to read The Long and Faraway Gone in the meantime. Berney remains true to his brilliance as a crime writer -- the novel's graceful plotting provides both gasp-inducing surprises and answers that are complex, satisfying, and never pat.

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As in his first two novels, Berney creates both male and female characters who are refreshingly fully formed, and whose flaws and ferocity make them both loveable and believable. With The Long and Faraway Gone , Berney accomplishes the admirable feat of writing a book about murder, grief, and human pathos that is as hip, hilarious, and entertaining as it is wrenching, beautiful, and ultimately redemptive.

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