Encuentra tu próximo/a libro favorito/a

Conviértase en miembro hoy y lea gratis durante 30 días
Descent: A Novel

Descent: A Novel

Leer la vista previa

Descent: A Novel

valoraciones:
3.5/5 (86 valoraciones)
Longitud:
502 página
8 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781616204303
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

“Read this astonishing novel . . . The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story.” —The Washington Post

The Rocky Mountains have cast their spell over the Courtlands, who are taking a family vacation before their daughter leaves for college. But when Caitlin and her younger brother, Sean, go out for an early morning run and only Sean returns, the mountains become as terrifying as they are majestic. 
 
Written with a precision that captures every emotion, every moment of fear, as each member of the family searches for answers, Descent races like an avalanche toward its heart-pounding conclusion.

“Read this astonishing novel . . . The magic of his prose equals the horror of Johnston’s story.” —The Washington Post

“A compelling thriller that is both creepy and literary . . . Descent is not just a mystery. It is an emotional story of evil, fear, acceptance and irony.”—The Denver Post
 
What makes the novel unforgettable is its sense of character, its deliberate, unadorned prose and Johnston’s unflinching exploration of human endurance, physical and psychological.” —Miami Herald
 
“A super-charged, addictive read.” —The Missourian                                                                   
 
“An original and psychologically deep thriller.” —Outside magazine
 
“Outstanding . . . The days when you had to choose between a great story and a great piece of writing? Gone.” —Esquire
 
“[A] dazzling debut . . . Exquisitely crafted.”  —The Dallas Morning News 
 
“Incredibly powerful, richly atmospheric.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune 
 
“ [An] engulfing thriller-cum-western.” —The New York Times Book Review 
 
 “Brilliant . . . As gripping as any Everest expedition.” —Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jan 6, 2015
ISBN:
9781616204303
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Tim Johnston, a native of Iowa City, is the author of The Current and the New York Times bestseller Descent, as well as a young adult novel, Never So Green, and the story collection Irish Girl, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction.

Relacionado con Descent

Libros relacionados

Vista previa del libro

Descent - Tim Johnston

Has llegado al final de esta vista previa. ¡Regístrate para leer más!
Página 1 de 1

Reseñas

Lo que piensa la gente sobre Descent

3.7
86 valoraciones / 81 Reseñas
¿Qué te pareció?
Calificación: 0 de 5 estrellas

Reseñas de lectores

  • (3/5)
    I picked this up for a reading group. It had been on my back burner for a long time. The premise of the story is that Caitlin and her brother Sean are exercising in the mountains alone on a family vacation. While on the mountain something bad happens and only Sean makes it down. What happened to Caitlin is the question that drives the destruction of her family. For a thriller this ended up being a lot less thrilling than I expected. The novel is populated by characters with little redeeming values making bad choices. The part that I cared the most about, what happened to Caitlin was actually the smallest part of the book. The ending was good but it took a lot of work to get there. The characters were hard to keep track of. For instance instead of calling Sean by his name he is sometimes referred to as the boy. For the first part of the book I wasn't even sure who was being talked about. While I am glad I finally got around to reading it I doubt I will remember very much about it.
  • (3/5)
    Caitlin lives to run. With a track scholarship and college just months away, life is good. But when she disappears during a family vacation, life as they knew ends for Caitlin and her brother and her parents. Her brother, badly injured and left in the mountains, shoulders some of the blame for her disappearance. Her parents blame him and each other. In the months that follow without any clues as to where she could be, the family slowly falls apart. The author has given us an interesting story, but much of the tension he wished to build could not be sustained through long narratives vacillating from past to present and to and from different groups of characters. Some serious editing and cutting of unnecessary story threads could only have improved the finished book. He gets credit for the characters and the plot, but really, I could have skipped the middle of the book and not missed much. If only the reader before me had penciled in my book, “after the prologue, skip to part IV,” I could saved that part of my life for another, more enticing book.
  • (3/5)
    During the Courtland family vacation in Colorado, 18-year-old Caitlin is kidnapped when she accepts a ride with a stranger to get help for her injured brother. The rest of the family doesn't give up on finding her but time goes by without any sighting of her. Grant, her father, stays in Colorado, while her mother, Angela, returns to Wisconsin and tries to return to her former life. The majority of the book deals with the family trying to deal with Caitlin's absence and gets a bit long. I loved the descriptions of the Rocky Mountain area.
  • (4/5)
    It has been a couple years since I have been as riveted to a book as I was to DESCENT. Problem, though: it wasn't riveting until around page 130. Caitlin was a high school track star and will now attend college on a track scholarship. But she is abducted, first. After that are descriptions of how her mother, father, and brother each go on living with this for nearly three years. Chapters are short. No problem. But the chapters also seem scattered, not chronological. Also, throughout this book Caitlin's brother, Sean, is referred to as "the boy" almost always. This is annoying. Such constant impersonal usage in seemingly personal chapters is confusing, and the repetitiousness of that phrase makes it ridiculous.About halfway through the book, though, the suspense becomes so great, DESCENT is unputdownable.For this excellent suspense, DESCENT would rate five stars. But the several uninteresting chapters in its first half and its ridiculous constant use of "the boy" downgrades it to four. Why not three? Because its second half is truly stupendous.I won this book from the publisher through librarything.com.
  • (5/5)
    I thank Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Netgalley.com for the advance reading of this book.

    I yearn to chat with the world and give away the secrets in the story!
    I can only say if a lover of thrilling fiction doesn't read this book it will one of the greatest losses of their reading life! I didn't put the book down. Read until I fell asleep from exhaustion and only paused long enough to make coffee in the morning before finishing it. I had to know...what happened!

    The Rocky Mountains are there with you. You feel the chill and cold; smell the trees and breath the air.

    The author's ability to create raw emotion and life into the characters is phenomenal. The story tears at your heart. No one in the story is left unexplored; some in minor detail and some in depth. All are real and you regret not having more to know about them in the end.

    I eagerly look forward to future books from this author!

    Highly recommend the book.
  • (4/5)
    Thoroughly enjoyed this book for many reason. Great characters whose stories are told through a terrible crime. I loved every character in the Courtland family. I also enjoyed the fact the ending was good, but not everything was perfect. Not a happily every after. That makes the novel so much more realistic. The setting, (Colorado Rockies) is of course stunning as well. This story could happen to anyone and that is what makes it so intriguing to read. There is good fodder here for book clubs as well. Highly recommend this book.
  • (5/5)
    I found this debut novel difficult to put down once I got into it.
  • (4/5)
    Descent by Tim Johnston is a highly recommended thriller/family drama.

    "A daughter was your life; it was as simple as that. Her body was the only body, her heart the only heart. The most absolute, the most terrible love."

    Grant and Angela Courtland have taken their children, Caitland and Sean, on a last summer vacation in Colorado before their daughter Caitland starts college in the fall. When Caitland and Sean leave their hotel for an early morning run (Caitland) and an accompanying bikre ride (Sean) in the mountains. Only Sean comes back and his return is via a hospital stay for a badly broken leg. Caitland has seemingly disappeared after accepting a ride from a stranger in an effort to get Sean help.

    Suddenly the Courtlands are a family with a missing daughter and a broken son. The whole family begins to implode under the tremendous emotional toll they are undergoing between Caitland's disappearance and Sean's recovery. Weeks become months and then years. Angela stays at the family's home in Wisconsin, slowly falling apart while Grant stays in Colorado, helping an elderly man while hoping to find clues leading to Caitland's return. Sean takes off in his dad's truck and crosses the country on his own adventure before circumstances send him back to Colorado.

    Descent by Tim Johnston shows how a single choice can change so many circumstances for each of his characters.. While the writing is elegant and poetic, the actual development of all his very flawed characters is somewhat lacking. Angela's character is the least fully formed, while the development of Grant and Sean is based more on their actions than any real insight into their psyche. Descent, although beautifully written, was rather slow going until the plot took a turn part way through the book and became a more satisfying thriller and less family drama. The tension is ratcheted way up at this point and the narrative will firmly hold your attention to the end.


    Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill for review purposes.
  • (4/5)
    Impossible to put down, this unwinds like a slow burning fever nightmare. Tough subject handled in a great literary style. Love the Colorado mountain wilderness setting.
  • (5/5)
    On a family vacation in Colorado, an eighteen-year-old girl goes for a run on a deserted mountain road, accompanied by her younger brother on a mountain bike, when the worst thing happens. The boy is left injured, and the girl has disappeared, plummeting her family into a nightmare.This book was so much more than the escapist thriller I was expecting. It never goes in the expected direction. Johnston's writing style is spare but evocative, and he does a remarkable job of breathing life into the wild mountain setting and all the characters, large and small, allowing the reader to fully inhabit this book's world. While the subject matter is undeniably rough--there is rape, there is minor animal abuse--the story itself has a quality of myth, addressing themes of fate and chance and what it means to be a hero. This book enthralled me, and I'm sure it will stay with me for a long time.
  • (4/5)
    Descent. Tim Johnston. 2015. The Courtland family goes to the mountains of Colorado at the request of daughter Caitlin. She wants to run through the mountains before she goes off to college on a track scholarship. Early one morning she starts out. Her younger brother follows her on his bike. Hours later he turns up in the hospital with a broken leg. Caitlin does not return. The Courtland’s world is turned upside down and inside out as they live through this nightmare. This suspenseful novel is beautifully written. Descriptions are lyrical and evocative. I was totally surprised and pleased with the quality of the writing.
  • (5/5)
    Riveting story of a teen girl's abduction and her family's attempts to find her. Grim and realistic, the author tells less about the actual recovery (page-turning) and more about the impact of the crime -- psychologically and literally -- upon the remaining parents and brother. As a bonus, the book is well-written: think Cormac McCarthy meets Hemingway. Highly recommended who want some quality with their suspense.
  • (4/5)
    Descent by Tim Johnston is a thrilling mystery colored with the darkness of loss. The Courtland family is devastated by the disappearance of Caitlin and struggles to create life "after." The story gives the viewpoint of each family member; mom, dad, and younger brother Sean, and their struggle to make peace with their feelings of loss and guilt. Johnston creates a page-turner that cuts to the core of what family means, and how we identify ourselves with those we love. This one is a must-read!
  • (1/5)
    Had a really difficult time with this book, and couldn't finish it. It didn't draw me in at all, with characters I found grating, and narration that just didn't work for me. I've seen so many reviews that call this book riveting or brilliant, but I didn't see it. Maybe I'll try again when I'm sitting on a beach in Hawaii. Or maybe not.
  • (5/5)
    I picked up this book simply based on the cover, not usually a good sign, however this time it totally worked out for me. This book was amazing and I could not put it down.I love thrillers, and this one was top-notch, but I quickly learned that this was not your standard NY Times Best Selling author fare (although it should be). Johnston's writing was much more literary and took more care in crafting his words than other authors that I also love but I can gobble up like candy. So much so that if I tried to read too fast I found myself needing to back up, slow down, and take care in my own consumption. His characters were so well founded that I loved them all, even Billy, because they were all very real individuals. And the plot simply pulled me in and made me care what happened to everyone and if Caitlin was ever found after she was kidnapped by some stranger after hitting her brother this his car. This is as close as I would ever like to come to living every parents nightmare. Lastly, as a side note, I've lived in 99% of my life in Colorado and I spent a good part of the book trying to determine exactly where in the Rocky Mountains they were (not sure where some other reviewers got Rocky Mountain National Park as that's in the wrong county, my best guess is Winter Park).
  • (4/5)
    I keep reading books about people who are abducted and held hostage. REMEMBER ME LIKE THIS, ABOVE, STILL MISSING, and now this. Of those titles, I think this one was the best. The premise itself--the abduction, the crime, the horror--is intriguing and keeps you turning pages, but the complex family dynamics at play are even more interesting. The first third of the book read a bit slow for me, and I was thrown off by the structure of the book (can we talk about the italicizing of entire chapters?). But then it all started to flow and I couldn't stop reading. There are some tangential elements and plot points that I could have done without (or should have been expanded upon), but all in all, it was a good read.
  • (5/5)
    This is one of the best books I've read in a long time, although I agree with other reviewers that the author's use of narration by shifting viewpoints could be a little confusing, which is why I gave this book 4 1/2 stars rather than 5. But the story itself? Totally riveting. The author does not sugarcoat anything, and horrifying things happen to the people and even some of the animals in this story. Some of it is extremely hard to read, but it is told so realistically that one has to admire the author for his unflinching ability to do so. There is a certain sense of dreadful anticipation throughout, and the climactic scenes are awful - but one must remember that people have actually gone through things like this and perhaps this is a terrifyingly realistic depiction of their experiences. Don't know how the author will top this, but I look forward to his next book.
  • (2/5)
    I read the entire book only because I was curious about the ending. The sections seemed to be very disjointed and it was difficult to figure out who was in each scene and why. The ending, which included the evolution of Billie, probably the book's most interesting character, was good, although somewhat unbelievable.
  • (2/5)
    The hype around this book is that it is a real thriller, one you simply could not put down. However, I put it down quite a few times without any problems in doing so. While it does not live up to its build-up, it is still a beautifully written tale that made it a decent read. Perhaps reading it in the dead of winter helped evoke how cold it was in those mountains, but I felt everything the characters did. However, there was too much stuff in there that really did not add to the story, making it drag in many places.
  • (5/5)
    I had the pleasure of seeing Tim Johnston read at the Iowa City Book Festival, and I bought this book after hearing him read two short passages - one about a sister and brother who experience an unspeakable event while in the Rocky Mountains and the second about the brother's attempt to live his life a couple of years after the tragedy. The passages were well-chosen because they encapsulate this book as a whole. When the story begins, recent high school graduate Caitlin Courtland is vacationing in the Rocky Mountains with her family. She is preparing to go to college on a track scholarship and has chosen the Rocky Mountains for her graduation trip because running there will strengthen her lungs. Her brother, Sean, has rented a mountain bike so that he can go along with her, but he is much less athletic than Caitlin. When the sheriff shows up at the Courtlands' hotel, he delivers the news that Sean has been injured and Caitlin is missing. The remainder of the book tells of the difficult balance of carrying on with life while still holding out hope that Caitlin will be found. The middle section of the book is told in a nonlinear way, conveying the panic and struggle the family experiences, but it is the final section that impressed me the most. It has been a long time since I could not put a book down, but the final 100 pages of this book left me breathless.
  • (4/5)
    This book kept me up past my bed time reading it straight through. The Courtland family are in the Rocky Mountains for a last vacation before their daughter, Caitlin, starts college. She and her younger brother, Sean, go out for a run, but only her brother returns. While the kidnapping is intense enough, the family's handling of this situation is as harrowing Definitely recommended.
  • (5/5)
    Nail-biting suspense, especially the last 100 pages. The beginning is much slower and focuses on the family members of the kidnapping victim, but gradually her story is interwoven and the two threads begin to come together for the finale. There are a couple of niggling loose ends which should have been taken care of, none of which I can mention without giving away too much, but although they're irritating, they don't take away from the intensity of the story.
  • (4/5)
    One of the patrons from the library told me that I had to read this book. She was right, I really did enjoy this page-turner of a story. This story had many twists and turns that I had not thought about. The characters seemed to be "real" people. The story did stir my emotions. I plan to give this author another read in the future.
  • (4/5)
    I wavered between 3 &4 stars and settled in four purely for the quality of the writing, which is A+. Prose that is at times lyrical, and at most others lean. The story is about a girl who is kidnapped while out running with her brother. And how the family comes apart in the aftermath. The reason it is not 5 stars is that even though the writing is excellent the pacing of the story is just to slow. There were two other annoyances, the book jumps around too much from narrator to narrator and from location to location. Secondly you had no idea who was telling the story in any given chapter until a couple of pages in.
  • (5/5)
    Terrifically written --- quite an engrossing read!
  • (5/5)
    I enjoyed this book. Would make a great movie. Told the the story of a girl abducted and how it effects the family left behind. The story of the actual abduction enfolds, very heart pounding!
  • (4/5)
    There is not much that has yet to be written about Descent, but I will attempt to take a stab at it nevertheless.Descent begins as most ordinary thrillers do, but this novel is deceptive in both its complexity and beauty. The Courtland family begins a vacation in the Rocky Mountains, as both a farewell gesture to their college bound daughter, Caitlin, and as a simultaneous effort to repair a marriage that has been scarred by past infidelities and hard drinking. While taking advantage of the high altitude for training, Caitlin, with brother Sean in tow, bound up the mountain trails, wherein Sean is brutally injured by a car and Caitlin abducted by its sinister driver.And this is where Johnston departs from the overwrought thriller tropes. Poignantly, with the grace of a poet, Johnston examines the theme of absence as it weighs down on the lives of those left behind. Each family member begins to spiral downward into the grip of their personal demons. The mother becomes untethered and drifts into a state of listless anomie. The father exhumes the vices of his past. Sean, carrying the brunt of survivor's guilt, becomes as emotionally splintered as his injured body. It is the magic of Johnston's prose that enhances the horror of this story and will leave the images of these scarred personalities lingering long after the book has been finished.The narrative structure, oscillating between the point of view of each of the family members, serves to underscore the distance that has separated and shattered this family. The story lines of each member rarely intersect, as each character is one their lone path to redemption in the wake of this tragedy. And it is this splintering of the family unit around which the novel pivots and rises beyond the straightforward narrative arc of most thrillers. We physically feel the characters' state of purgatory, their interminable waiting for a resolution that may never come to fruition, leaving them metaphorically unable to "descend" from that mountaintop. Additionally, as readers we are able to feel Caitlin's absence as strongly as the Cortland family, as we do not her from her perspective for nearly 100 pages after the initial abduction. This is as deceptive novel, for it begins with an action packed "bang," and then slowly simmers with tension and despair until the emotions boil over in a whirlwind of an ending. More than just a mystery, Descent is a meditation on the nature of tragedy, on the permanent scar tissue forged onto a family's soul.
  • (5/5)
    Descent is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. Its the story of a family that falls apart after 18 year old Caitlin is abducted while she is on a run with her brother Sean. The story is told through alternating voices and alternating time periods. Its a bit confusing at first to figure out who is talking and if they are in the past or present but once you get into the story, the skipping around is a very effective way to tell the story and get all sides of how the loss of one person in the family is affecting the entire family unit. Its a thrilling page turner. I look forward to future books from this author.
  • (1/5)
    I'm afraid I had to Pearl Rule this one. 100 pages in and I just can't get into it. I really didn't enjoy the writing style; the jumping around was way too confusing. I see others quite enjoyed it so maybe I am missing something.
  • (5/5)
    I am not much of a fan of thrillers, but when Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill comes out with a novel, I read it, regardless of the genre. Descent, by Tim Johnston might just change my view of suspense novels.Johnston, a native of Iowa City, Iowa, teaches creative writing at the University of Memphis. He has authored a young adult novel, Never So Green, and a short story collection, Irish Girl, which won the prestigious Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. Descent is his first adult novel (Dust Jacket). And what a first it is!Grant and Angela Courtland have two children – Caitlin, 18, and about to enter college on an athletic scholarship as a cross-country runner, and Sean, 16, who idolizes his sister. The family travels to the Rocky Mountains for a vacation. One morning, Caitlin goes out for a run, followed by Sean on a mountain bike. Their travels take them up a mountain and down to a road. Sean skids onto the road and is hit by some sort of SUV. Caitlin returns to him and finds he is seriously injured. She has no cell phone signal. The driver offers to drive her to the nearest town to get help. Someone alerts the police, and they find Sean by the side of the road. But Caitlin has disappeared.After hundreds of reviews, I can honestly say I have never used the term “Page Turner.” But Descent is exactly that. Like all fine fiction, I did not know how the story would end, and I did not care. The emotions the characters experienced were eerily real. The narrative was so taut, so detailed, and so exciting, that was all I needed to keep going. Angela experienced a tragedy when she was young, losing her twin sister in a swimming accident. This dark, cloudy memory overhangs the entire story. The sheriff locates Grant and Angela. Johnston writes, “Now in the little motel room, his wife’s phone to his ear, he begged: Please God, please God, and the sheriff was asking him again where he was at, telling him to stay put. The boy was safe, he was sleeping. He was coming to get them, the sheriff – no more than fifteen minutes. He would take them up there himself, up the mountain. He would take them wherever they needed to go. But they wouldn’t be here when the sheriff arrived, Grant knew. They would be on the mountain, on their way up. The boy was safe. The boy was sleeping. Grant would be at the wheel and Angela would be at the maps, they way it was in the life before, the way it would be in the life to come” (19).The story has several twists and turns, and the action happens so fast I am reminded of a slalom skier flying down a mountain. Descent by Tim Johnston is about as exciting a novel as I have ever read. Any cliché which comes to mind – page-turner, edge-of-the-seat, hair-raising – they all fit. I am even in a rare agreement with a jacket blurb – “Lyrical and hypnotic […] a pulse-pounding thriller.” My next order of business: order his collection of short stories, and then wait for another novel. 5 stars.--Jim, 2/8/15