Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Sweet Hereafter

by Russell Banks

A town that loses its children loses its meaning.

A school bus accident in upstate New York turns an already depressed town upside down. The accident, as well as its aftermath, is described by four different characters:

  • Dolores Driscoll--the squeaky clean bus driver who loves her job, would never put her charges in danger, and is one of the only survivors of the accident.
  • Billy Ansel--the widower father whose twins who died in the crash and secret lover of the woman who owns the local motel.
  • Mitchell Stevens--the lawyer from New York City who is trying to get the families on board for a big old lawsuit, while witnessing the town's grief. At the same time, he is struggling with his own family issues.
  • Nichole Burnell--a now paralyzed survivor of the crash and a survivor of other horrible things as well. A legitimate lawsuit depends upon her testimony.

Bleak and compelling. The movie is just as good.


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