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Extended Audio Sample Northwest Corner: A Novel Audiobook, by John Burnham Schwartz Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (414 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Burnham Schwartz Narrator: Robertson Dean, Chuck Carrington, Rebecca Lowman, Kim Mai Guest, Amanda Carlin Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2011 ISBN: 9780307915047
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The New York Times Book Review called Reservation Road “a triumph,” and the novel was universally acclaimed. Now, in a brilliant literary performance by one of our most compelling and compassionate writers, John Burnham Schwartz reintroduces us to Reservation Road’s unforgettable characters in a superb new work of fiction that stands magnificently on its own. Northwest Corner is a riveting story about the complex, fierce, ultimately inspiring resilience of families in the face of life’s most difficult and unexpected challenges.

Twelve years after a tragic accident and a cover-up that led to prison time, Dwight Arno, now fifty, is a man who has started over without exactly moving on. Living alone in California, haunted yet keeping his head down, Dwight manages a sporting goods store and dates a woman to whom he hasn’t revealed the truth about his past. Then an unexpected arrival throws his carefully neutralized life into turmoil and exposes all that he’s hidden.

Sam, Dwight’s estranged college-age son, has shown up without warning, fleeing a devastating incident in his own life. In its way, Sam’s sense of guilt is as crushing as his father’s. As the two men are forced to confront their similar natures and their half-buried hopes for connection, they must also search for redemption and love. In turn, they dramatically transform the lives of the women around them: the ex-wives, mothers, and lovers they have turned to in their desperate attempts to somehow rewrite, outrun, or eradicate the past.

Told in the resonant voices of everyday people gripped in the emotional riptide of lived life, Northwest Corner is at once tough and heart-lifting, an urgent, powerful story about family bonds that can never be broken and the wayward roads that lead us back to those we love.


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Quotes & Awards

  • The power of Northwest Corner, as its geographical center moves from Connecticut to California and back again, is in the way it asks the hardest questions of human experience with subtle grace...one of the most emotionally commanding novels of the year. NPR "Books We Like"
  • Eloquently told…[an] elegiac, thoughtful novel…While this isn’t the first story about the indestructible bonds of family, it’s an especially nuanced and moving one. The New York Times
  • Poetic, introspective, evocative…one of the most gut-wrenching books I’ve ever read….In Schwartz’s hands, the narrative unfolds delicately, each chapter a puzzle piece that fits seamlessly into the whole. Grade: A. Entertainment Weekly
  • I was enthralled by Northwest Corner, reluctant to tear myself away even for a moment from a tale so delicately assembled, so well paced. For me Schwartz evokes Steinbeck and Updike in that magical ability to weave out of a regional story of family, a broader chronicle of America…Truly a great American novel. Abraham Verghese
  • The masterful Northwest Corner is that finest of things—a moral novel about mortal events.  Dennis Lehane
     

  • Daring as usual, Schwartz takes risks not just with his characters’ lives but in his writing…A bruised beauty. Elle
  • Finely wrought. O Magazine
  • In Northwest Corner, Schwartz delicately explores this broken father-son relationship, and how Dwight and Sam begin to reach out to one another…In short, finely honed chapters, Schwartz examines the state of mind of each of these wounded souls, drawing the reader into their fragile lives. This is a brilliant exposure of one modern family in moral crisis, a story that in some way touches each of us. Bookpage
  • Schwartz [writes] with a quiet artfulness, giving each character a unique and uniquely moving voice embedded within a consistently interesting and graceful prose -- and creating a structure and style that neatly reflect the story they frame, of piecing together a whole life that is at once the sum of its parts and much more. Minneapolis Star Tribune
     
  • Exceptional at describing the chemistry of desire, creating emotional tension, and making his characters feel more like flesh and blood than fictional constructs. Imaginative and taut, Schwartz’s writing is seamless and infinitely inspired. Publishers Weekly
  • Stark and deeply effecting. Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • Readers of Reservation Road will enjoy continuing the stories of these two families, linked by tragedy, while those who haven’t yet discovered this powerful writer are in for a treat. Library Journal
  • How do survivors carry on after their lives are scarred by tragedy? What causes a legacy of violence to echo from one generation to the next? Those are the questions John Burnham Schwartz poses and answers with a gentle touch in this moving sequel to his popular 1998 novel, Reservation Road…Although Schwartz's novel can be appreciated without reference to Reservation Road, it will be especially rewarding for anyone who valued the depth of characterization, keen psychological insight and ability to sustain narrative suspense that marked the earlier work. It's unlikely we'll see the Arnos or the Learners again, but we can be grateful to their creator for allowing us to leave them with a fuller sense of their lives. Shelf Awareness

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janine | 2/14/2014

    " I picked this book up when Borders closed it's doors, knowing nothing of the author or Reservation Road. This book is another story of the lives of the characters from Reservation Road, and while it can, in fact, stand on it's own I believe I missed something by getting to know the characters through the other book. There was a depth to the relationships in this story that I just didn't feel was substantiated in the story itself. It wasn't good enough to make me stay up late and finish, but it was good enough that I'll probably go back and read Reservation Road. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristen Morris | 2/3/2014

    " Excellent follow up to Reservation Road. Stark, dismal character study. If you like dark, sullen and moody, this book is for you. To sum up: are a father's sins genetic? Will they repeat in the son? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Seed | 1/13/2014

    " At first the multiple point of views were difficult to follow, but I quickly caught on to them. So true to life how children can imitate their parents and the bond that exists. Truly enjoyed this book. Immediately downloaded the prequel, Reservation Road upon completion. Definitely worth re-reading too! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doris Bright | 12/21/2013

    " A tragic story of how one moment can can shatter someone's life and the gripping effects of the family. The short quick chapters flow smoothly and very real characterizations that are intriquitly connected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Kearney | 11/12/2013

    " Maybe more like 3.5, this is a worthy sequel to Reservation Road. Interesting exploration of guilt and redemption. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley Green | 11/3/2013

    " Interesting to see the families 12 yrs later from original novel reservation road. Very compelling. I loved the first book (and the movie) and especially liked the character of Dwight! But really just a sad tale of people trying to find redemption! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan Odetta | 10/29/2013

    " This is a sequel to Reservation Road and, like it's predecessor, it is a dark story beautifully written with plenty of love, loss and redemption. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/20/2013

    " Beautifully written, wonderful book. If you have not read Reservation Road, I recommend you do before reading Northwest Corner. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan | 7/2/2013

    " I wanted to read this book as I heard the author speak and I read his prior book Reservation Road. This book was very choppy with short chapters told in the voice of the different characters. I was glad that this book was not quite as depressing as the first book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 6/28/2013

    " Well written and emotional, a great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 4/23/2013

    " This book is one of those books that I think I will appreciate more after I think about it than I do now. It tears at you emotionally. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jen | 7/6/2012

    " This follow up to Reservation Road was a satisfying read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 4/4/2012

    " The sequel to "Reservation Road." It was nice to see the characters 15 years later, but still felt some characters were sort of neglected at the end (Penny, Emma and Grace). Overall, good book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Linda Thompson | 11/9/2011

    " I did not really enjoy this book, it was too much anger and sullenness. I would not recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 10/27/2011

    " I really liked this book. I guess I now need to read Reservation Road. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 10/18/2011

    " WOW! What a powerful story of bad things happening to good people and how they work through it as they try to get back together as a family. Lots and lots of emotional turmoil that is so real. Excellent sequel to Reservation Road! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn | 10/17/2011

    " Maybe more like 3.5, this is a worthy sequel to Reservation Road. Interesting exploration of guilt and redemption. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cat | 9/30/2011

    " Schwartz brings us back to the families we met in 'Reservation Road', albeit 12 years later. Emma and Sam are now young adults, and while over a decade has past since we last checked in, we are given glimpses into how the lives of both families have developed. Another beautiful story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 9/22/2011

    " This book is one of those books that I think I will appreciate more after I think about it than I do now. It tears at you emotionally. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kate | 9/17/2011

    " I randomly saw this at the library and thought Id check it out. I'm not thrilled with it and won't be finishing it. Its just not a book to hold my interest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tisha | 9/15/2011

    " I loved this book. Brilliantly written -- true, unflinching, compassionate, redemptive "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Audrey | 9/6/2011

    " This book started rough and went down hill from there. It was hard to follow. Jumping from person to person...Back and forth in time...I couldn't make sense of it and it drove me crazy. I'm sorry, I gave it a shot but I didn't like it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Doris | 9/6/2011

    " A tragic story of how one moment can can shatter someone's life and the gripping effects of the family. The short quick chapters flow smoothly and very real characterizations that are intriquitly connected. "

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About the Author

John Burnham Schwartz is the author of several novels, including Claire Marvel, Bicycle Days, and Reservation Road. His books have been translated into more than fifteen languages, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times and New Yorker. He lives with his wife and their son in Brooklyn.

About the Narrators

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.

Rebecca Lowman is an actress and audiobook narrator who has won numerous Earphones Awards. She has starred in numerous television shows, including Law & Order, Big Love, NCIS, and Grey’s Anatomy, among many others. She earned her MFA from Columbia University.

Kim Mai Guest is an award-winning voice actor for audiobooks and video games. She can also be heard on television shows, such as G.I. Joe: Renegades, Batman: the Brave and the Bold, and Avatar, and in movies such asChill Out Scooby Doo and Dead Space: Aftermath. Her video game work includes Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, and The Lord of the Rings.

Amanda Carlin is an actress and Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. She has appeared in such television shows as Law & Order, Lost, Bones, and The West Wing.