Reservation Road is about the aftermath of a horrific incident; Ethan and Grace Learner's young son Josh is killed one summer night in a hit and run. However the driver isn't just a faceless figure that disappears into the night. Instead we get to know him through a first person narrative. It turns out the Learners know the killer too. Dwight is a divorced mess of a lawyer who's still obsessed with his ex wife and has violent tendancies. His ex wife taught Josh piano. Josh was a gifted piano player - a trait which seems employed to increase the poignancy; Josh had so much to lose.
I wanted to read this book because of Schwartz's narrative stance. He uses alternating perspectives: Ethan, Grace and Dwight. So we get three perspectives on the horrible event and see how it alters everything, including the Learners' marriage. However rather oddly we get a first person narration for the boys (father Ethan and killer Dwight) but a third person for Grace. I have no idea why. Perhaps it's to show her emotional distance? I found her quite hard to connect with, but she's zoned out and in shock so I guess this makes sense. Or perhaps Schwartz felt he couldn't write from a feminine perspective? Whatever the reason I found it quite disconcerting, like I wasn't getting the whole picture. There wasn't really much to differentiate Ethan and Dwight's voice either.
I think it dipped at the end. I won't give it away but it wasn't really what I expected and didn't feel true to the rest of the book. But I still enjoyed it; there are some really evocative pieces suggesting the seasons, passage of time and memories and we do get a glimpse of grief. Bit of a strange one though. There's a film of it apparently, but I haven't seen it yet.