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Before You Know Kindness

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eBook published by Vintage (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
For ten summers, the Seton family—all three generations—met at their country home in New England to spend a week together playing tennis, badminton, and golf, and savoring gin and tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. In the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to the test the values that unite the family—and the convictions that just may pull it apart.

Before You Know Kindness is a family saga that is timely in its examination of some of the most important issues of our era, and timeless in its exploration of the strange and unexpected places where we find love.

As he did with his earlier masterpiece, Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that is rich with unforgettable characters—and absolutely riveting in its page-turning intensity.

“Few writers can manipulate a plot with Bohjalian’s grace and power.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Chris Bohjalian’s many fans will be glad to know he’s back on the high wire, expertly balancing topical issues with the more timeless concerns of the human heart. His well-drawn, sympathetic characters deepen and intensify the novel’s gripping plot rather than simply serving it. Before You Know Kindness is smart, first-rate storytelling.”—Richard Russo, winner of the Pulitzer Prize forEmpire Falls

“Once again, Chris Bohjalian dares to tackle the complexities—and complacencies—of modern society at its most vulnerable spot, where the personal clashes with the political, where the private is forced to go public. And once again, he forges a drama that will keep his readers on the edge of their seats...perhaps their conscience as well.”—Julia Glass, winner of the National Book Award forThree Junes

“Chris Bohjalian’s magnificent new novel, Before You Know Kindness, is the best work of fiction I’ve read about an American family since Amy Tan’sThe Joy Luck Club. It is one of the funniest, best-written, most compassionate, most engaging, and flat-out most enjoyable novels I’ve ever read.”—Howard Frank Mosher, winner of the New England Book Award forA Stranger in the Kingdom

“Elegant, refined...a triumph.” —Booklist (starred review)

Also available as a Random House AudioBook, a Large Print edition, and an eBook.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
For ten summers, the Seton family—all three generations—met at their country home in New England to spend a week together playing tennis, badminton, and golf, and savoring gin and tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. In the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to the test the values that unite the family—and the convictions that just may pull it apart.

Before You Know Kindness is a family saga that is timely in its examination of some of the most important issues of our era, and timeless in its exploration of the strange and unexpected places where we find love.

As he did with his earlier masterpiece, Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that is rich with unforgettable characters—and absolutely riveting in its page-turning intensity.

“Few writers can manipulate a plot with Bohjalian’s grace and power.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Chris Bohjalian’s many fans will be glad to know he’s back on the high wire, expertly balancing topical issues with the more timeless concerns of the human heart. His well-drawn, sympathetic characters deepen and intensify the novel’s gripping plot rather than simply serving it. Before You Know Kindness is smart, first-rate storytelling.”—Richard Russo, winner of the Pulitzer Prize forEmpire Falls

“Once again, Chris Bohjalian dares to tackle the complexities—and complacencies—of modern society at its most vulnerable spot, where the personal clashes with the political, where the private is forced to go public. And once again, he forges a drama that will keep his readers on the edge of their seats...perhaps their conscience as well.”—Julia Glass, winner of the National Book Award forThree Junes

“Chris Bohjalian’s magnificent new novel, Before You Know Kindness, is the best work of fiction I’ve read about an American family since Amy Tan’sThe Joy Luck Club. It is one of the funniest, best-written, most compassionate, most engaging, and flat-out most enjoyable novels I’ve ever read.”—Howard Frank Mosher, winner of the New England Book Award forA Stranger in the Kingdom

“Elegant, refined...a triumph.” —Booklist (starred review)

Also available as a Random House AudioBook, a Large Print edition, and an eBook.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
eBook
Published: September 27, 2005
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307276940
Other books byChris Bohjalian
  • The Light in the Ruins

    The Light in the Ruins
    From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge—set in war-ravaged Tuscany. 1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison. 1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history. Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.

    The Double Bind

    The Double Bind
    Throughout his career, Chris Bohjalian has earned a reputation for writing novels that examine some of the most important issues of our time. With Midwives, he explored the literal and metaphoric place of birth in our culture. In The Buffalo Soldier, he introduced us to one of contemporary literature’s most beloved foster children. And in Before You Know Kindness, he plumbed animal rights, gun control, and what it means to be a parent. Chris Bohjalian’s riveting fiction keeps us awake deep into the night. As The New York Times has said, “Few writers can manipulate a plot with Bohjalian’s grace and power.” Now he is back with an ambitious new novel that travels between Jay Gatsby’s Long Island and rural New England, between the Roaring Twenties and the twenty-first century. When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was telling the truth: before he was homeless, Bobbie Crocker was a successful photographer who had indeed worked with such legends as Chuck Berry, Robert Frost, and Eartha Kitt. As Laurel’s fascination with Bobbie’s former life begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a deeply hidden, dark family secret. Her search for the truth will lead her further from her old life—and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her. In this spellbinding literary thriller, rich with complex and compelling characters—including Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan—Chris Bohjalian takes readers on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet. From the Hardcover edition.

    Secrets of Eden

    Secrets of Eden
    A Novel
    A LIFETIME TV MOVIE STARRING JOHN STAMOS COMING FEBRUARY 2012 From the bestselling author of The Double Bind, Midwives, and Skeletons at the Feast comes a novel of shattered faith, intimate secrets, and the delicate nature of sacrifice. "There," says Alice Hayward to Reverend Stephen Drew, just after her baptism, and just before going home to the husband who will kill her that evening and then shoot himself. Drew, tortured by the cryptic finality of that short utterance, feels his faith in God slipping away and is saved from despair only by a meeting with Heather Laurent, the author of wildly successful, inspirational books about . . . angels.  Heather survived a childhood that culminated in her own parents' murder-suicide, so she identifies deeply with Alice’s daughter, Katie, offering herself as a mentor to the girl and a shoulder for Stephen – who flees the pulpit to be with Heather and see if there is anything to be salvaged from the spiritual wreckage around him. But then the State's Attorney begins to suspect that Alice's husband may not have killed himself. . .and finds out that Alice had secrets only her minister knew. Secrets of Eden is both a haunting literary thriller and a deeply evocative testament to the inner complexities that mark all of our lives.  Once again Chris Bohjalian has given us a riveting page-turner in which nothing is precisely what it seems.  As one character remarks, “Believe no one.  Trust no one.  Assume all of our stories are suspect.” 

    Silas Marner

    Silas Marner
    The Weaver of Raveloe
    Eliot's penetrating portrayal of a miser who learns to love an orphaned and abandoned child, this novel is a cherished masterwork and a moving story of redemption by the one of the Victorian era's most accomplished novelists.

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  • The bullet-cylindriform as a rocket but tapering to a point almost sharp enough to prick skin with a casual touch-was two and a half inches long when it was in the cartridge in the rifle.

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  • And when they posed for a photograph-the two men surrounding my cousin-you wouldn't have known that my uncle had lost his arm or that once, a long time ago, he had almost lost his family.

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