Bright's Passage by Josh Ritter
Bright's Passage, the debut novel from the singer/songwriter Josh Ritter, is the story of a widowed World War I veteran who returns home to West Virginia to care for his infant son. With his world crumbling around him, and haunted by his past, the man and his son set out on a journey for salvation guided by a guardian angel.
Reviewer: Carolyn Kellogg
"The debut novel from musician Josh Ritter, a folky singer-songwriter who's been known to sing of angels, is intensely beautiful, tragic and also funny....Ritter knows how to build a rich, beautiful story with shape: "Bright's Passage" has a powerful end."
Reviewer: Adrian Turpin
"Ritter displays an innate sense of structure, skilfully handling the story’s overlapping timeframes, and switching between first world war realism...and the more fantastical elements of the story. Despite a hefty dose of quirk for quirk’s sake, Bright’s Passage stays just the right side of fey."
Reviewer: Sam Sacks
"In Josh Ritter's scrappy debut, "Bright's Passage", William Faulkner is the looming influence—and that's usually a sign of trouble....But the moonlighting Mr. Ritter, whose full-time job is as an alt-country singer-songwriter, acquits himself quite well."
Reviewer: Michael Berick
"...the book's low-key narrative tone tempers the sense of drama early on. But the tension does grow as the story unfolds, propelled by short chapters that read like powerful vignettes, all of which lead to a final confrontation as haunting as any ballad Ritter could have written."
Reviewer: Todd VanDerWerff
"Bright’s Passage succeeds in spite of itself, because Ritter’s ability to evoke a bygone era or a stunning image with a handful of words is as strong as it is in the best of his songs. He’s taken great care to build a fully realized world on the cusp of modernity, and he’s filled it with enigmas worth pondering. If only he’d filled it with a few recognizable human beings as well."
Reviewer: Charles McNair
"Ritter tells a good story. Clearly, he’s got the gene of storytelling—the God Gene—twisting around in his very DNA....Bright’s Passage is Ritter’s passage too. Add Josh Ritter to the list of novelists we’ll take seriously as his next books come … no matter his day job."
Reviewer: Alice Gregory
"Ritter does a commendable job at detailing the devastating circumstances that propel Henry Bright to action, but the insistence upon constant occult intervention undoes a lot of the book's naturalistic success."
Reviewer: Stephen King
"This is the work of a gifted novelist, but the size of that gift has yet to be determined. One thing that is sure: Ritter has not, as yet, fully unwrapped it."