By Nicholas Evans
Published by Little, Brown
Borrow it from the library, buy it online or in a bookshop. Do whatever you have to do to get a copy but make sure that you read The Brave by Nicholas Evans. It’s amazing.
If you want to read on, be warned that this is a biased review!
Once upon a time, I read The Horse Whisperer by a certain Nicholas Evans, an author whom I had never heard of before. I don’t know what happened. I was suddenly under a spell. Nicholas Evans’s books, however, can literally be counted on the fingers of one hand. It was thus with great joy and expectation that I recently picked up The Brave, published this year after a (not so) patient wait of 6 years.
The only disappointment of The Brave is that, once you start reading it, you know that it will inevitably have to end.
So, what is so good about The Brave? First of all, a brief outline of the story. The chapters alternate between the childhood and the adulthood of Tom Bedford. As a child, Tom grows up in the Midlands (UK) and then moves to Hollywood to leave in a dream world with his sister Diane and her boyfriend, TV cowboy Ray Montane. Tommy, who is a huge fan of ‘Cowboys & Indians’ shows, couldn’t be happier. That is, until one tragic event turns his world upside down.
As a grown-up, Tom lives in Montana, has an ex wife and a son who hardly speaks to him. He has never told them the truth about his past and he lost them both. Life, however, is unpredictable and his son, a US Marine serving in Iraq, is suddenly in trouble, trouble that could have serious consequences all too similar to what happened so many years ago in Hollywood.
To answer my previous question, The Brave is an excellent example (and much needed reminder) of Evans special storytelling skills. He is able to completely draw readers into any story. You can be anyone when you open the book but you will soon become one with the people who populate his pages. Evans’s characters are well-rounded and extremely real. Settings are described so vividly that your surroundings will change as you read. Without being over-the-top, he easily sets whatever mood the story needs.
And what a good story it is too. When a book is divided in two storylines, I normally become more interested in one of the two, looking forward to pick the thread again as soon as one chapter or section ends. In this case, I found that both storylines were equally fascinating, which only made me read faster!
And now, I have to be brave myself and wait for the next work by Mr Evans.