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Extended Audio Sample The Bright Forever: A Novel, by Lee Martin Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5 3.50 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lee Martin Narrator: Susan Denaker, Bo Foxworth, Kirby Heyborne, Leonardo Leoncavallo Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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On an evening like any other, nine-year-old Katie Mackey, daughter of the most affluent family in a small town on the plains of Indiana, sets out on her bicycle to return some library books.

This simple act is at the heart of The Bright Forever, a suspenseful, deeply affecting novel about the choices people make that change their lives forever. Keeping fact, speculation, and contradiction playing off one another as the details unfold, author Lee Martin creates a fast-paced story that is as gripping as it is richly human. His beautiful, clear-eyed prose builds to an extremely nuanced portrayal of the complicated give and take among people struggling to maintain their humanity in the shadow of a loss.

Reminiscent of books such as The Little Friend and The Lovely Bones, but most memorable for its own perceptions and power, The Bright Forever is a compelling and emotional tale about the human need to know even the hardest truth.

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Quotes & Awards

  • With what consummate skill Lee Martin conjures up a small town in the grip of tragedy and how deftly he explores the way in which a casual remark, a brief kiss, a white lie can have the most terrible consequences. The Bright Forever is a remarkable and almost unbearably suspenseful novel. Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona and Eva Moves the Furniture
  • Lee Martin’s The Bright Forever goes deep into the mystery of being alive on this earth. Written in the clearest prose, working back and forth over its complex story, and told in the dark, desperate, vivid voices of its various speakers, it holds you spellbound to the end, to its final, sad revelations. Kent Haruf, author of Eventide and Plainsong
  • Like Winesburg, Ohio, The Bright Forever captures, in alternating voices, the individual acts of desperation that lead to a community’s sorrow. And, like Sherwood Anderson, Lee Martin is not happy to let guilt reside singularly or simply. This is a morally complex quilt, a page-turner that also insists on the reader’s participation in moral contemplation. Antonya Nelson, author of Female Trouble and Talking in Bed
  • I read The Bright Forever in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. Part Mystic River, part Winesburg, Ohio, this harrowing and beautiful book is one of the most powerful novels I’ve read in years and heralds the breakout of a remarkable talent. Bret Lott, author of A Song I Knew by Heart and Jewel
  • The Bright Forever will get under your skin with its exquisite psychology and fine-tuned suspense. Lee Martin has created a world of aching beauty and terrible loss. Jean Thompson, author of City Boy and Wide Blue Yonder
  • The Bright Forever is ravishing. . . . Lee Martin’s characters, dear readers, are us—riven and bedeviled, our souls gone grainy and rank, our hearts busted and beating heavily for love. We have Martin to thank for having the moral courage—yes, an old-fashioned but rare virtue—to tell it to us plain. Lee K. Abbott, author of Living After Midnight

  • A Featured Alternate of the Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Book-of-the-Month Club
  • A 2006 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Peggy Walker | 2/19/2014

    " Evidently, this book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, which surprised me somewhat. The town and locals of that era were painted very well, and I could see the "light" and feel the heat of the days covered by the story. The story is told by several narrators, and each has a recognizable voice, and they tell the story well. There is some jumping around in time, but it is still easy to follow. It illustrates how one tiny thing...Gilley tattling that his sister didn't return her library books...can trigger a whole series of events. However, there wasn't going to be a good outcome in this situation. Obsession rarely has a good end. It was a good read, but not as spectacular as I might have expected. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Marie Mengel | 2/17/2014

    " I found myself wanting the book to hurry up and get to the ending...I seemed to be impatient to let it all unravel- so it took me awhile to get through because I kept putting it down; however, I did think it was a well written novel. There were many lines in the story that I found myself thinking that it was good writing and that it was honest. I liked the intricate parts that were woven into the story about the different characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jill | 2/12/2014

    " I enjoyed reading this book. Great to get so many perspectives on life in a small southern town. Lots of topics you could discuss in book club. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ladyjexie | 1/28/2014

    " Artfully combines morality, psychology and suspense. Beautifully written "

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