Shelf Control #321: Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: Before You Know Kindness
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Published: 2005
Length: 448 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

For ten summers, the Seton family—all three generations—met at their country home in New England to spend a week together playing tennis, badminton, and golf, and savoring gin and tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. In the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to the test the values that unite the family—and the convictions that just may pull it apart.

Before You Know Kindness is a family saga that is timely in its examination of some of the most important issues of our era, and timeless in its exploration of the strange and unexpected places where we find love.

As he did with his earlier masterpiece, Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that is rich with unforgettable characters—and absolutely riveting in its page-turning intensity.

How and when I got it:

I have a paperback edition on my shelf — but it’s been enough years that I don’t remember where or when I actually got it.

Why I want to read it:

At this point, Chris Bojhalian’s new book releases are always a cause for celebration. I just checked my reading records — it turns out that I’ve read all of his past nine new books! I’ve read a couple of older ones too, but there are still some I haven’t gotten to, and Before You Know Kindness is one of those.

This author never fails to surprise and provoke — whether it’s historical fiction or a family drama, set in WWII or modern New York or Puritan-era Boston, his books always deliver compelling plots, multi-layered characters, and knotty dilemmas.

Before You Know Kindness sounds fascinating, telling the story of a family destroyed (or maybe not? hard to tell from the synopsis) by a violent accident. I’m very curious to find out more — what exactly happened, who was involved, what were the repercussions?

It’s always exciting to know that a favorite author has more books in their backlist to explore. I’m looking forward to reading this one, as well as a few others by Chris Bohjalian that I haven’t quite managed to get to yet.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
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  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!

4 thoughts on “Shelf Control #321: Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian

  1. Destroyed or not, that is part of what one is to look out for in the book I assume. Sounds interesting and the fact that you’ve enjoyed so many of the author’s works makes it seem promising as well

  2. This topic sounds very timely, unfortunately. But I’m sure it will be handled well, based on my past experience with Bohjalian. Let us know if you end up reading it!

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