A gripping novel with the pace of a thriller but the nuanced characterization and deep empathy of some of the literary canon’s most beloved novels, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as one of the most gifted storytellers writing today. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot and his shimmering prose, Johnston reveals that only in caring for one another can we save ourselves.
Four years have passed since Justin Campbell’s disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold what’s left of their family together.
Then, one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away, in the neighboring town, and, most important, he appears to be fine. Though the reunion is a miracle, Justin’s homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal. Trying to return to normal, his parents do their best to ease Justin back into his old life. But as thick summer heat takes hold, violent storms churn in the Gulf and in the Campbells’ hearts. When a reversal of fortune lays bare the family’s greatest fears - and offers perhaps the only hope for recovery - each of them must fight to keep the ties that bind them from permanently tearing apart.
"A gripping study of the complexities that follow a traumatic life event.... The reader is transformed into a silent witness alongside the characters." (Nylon)
"It is as a writer that I admire the architecture of Remember Me Like This, the novel’s flawless storytelling. It is as the father of three sons that I vouch for the psychological authenticity of this depiction of any parent’s worst fears. Emotionally, I am with this family as they try to move ahead - embracing ‘the half-known and desperate history’ that they share. I love this novel." (John Irving)
"A sensitive and frequently suspenseful portrait of a family struggling to heal in the aftermath of great trauma." (Booklist)
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The story really only begins with the return of a boy who had disappeared. The author does an incredible job setting up believable characters and the real drama: will each of them and the family as a whole survive the new sets of circumstances that follow from Justin's return?
I won't give it away, but the epilogue raises all the right questions and made me want to read it all over again.
Honestly, I was so focused on the story, I hardly noticed the performance either way. And I mean that as a compliment.
Not really, but I loved the way it drew me in to the characters and their choices, their means of coping with the new situation.
Really excellent story.
Impressive Novel of Loss and Family
- Beth Anne