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Parts Unknown: A Novel

About the Book

Parts Unknown: A Novel

A masterfully rendered debut novel of a man's decision to leave the life intended for him behind, and the turbulent emotions unleashed in his family when attempts to make amends, Kevin Brennan's riveting debut novel Parts Unknown surrounds the families of photographer Bill Argus and his wife, Nora.

Many years before the present action, Bill had abandoned his first wife and their child and now, at the age of sixty-three, wishes to return to his hometown of Pianto, California, for a shot at redemption. Through Nora's eyes, his dubious homecoming is reported, along with Nora's own troubled family history and long-time estrangement from her mother. Her father, much like Bill, had left the family when Nora was a child, and he hasn't been heard from since. Bill's reception by his brother, Cameron, his Aunt Carmen, and his ex-wife Annie spark in Nora a revisiting of her speckled past, with the themes of guilt, regret, and forgiveness on her mind as she witnesses Bill's clumsy reappearance in Pianto.

Through other, third-person points of view, the novel brings the past into focus, studying the prism of family relationships behind the latter day action. Moments of epiphany for Bill's mother and father, Annie, Annie's parents, Cameron, and Bill's son, Hayes -- all in various time frames -- reveal to the reader the elaborate personal rivalries and choked emotions that impede reconciliation. Set in the California desert and Sonoma County, this striking meditation on the elusive nature of redemption lovingly maps the diverse terrain of the human heart as it probes the intricate bonds of family and the complex nature of forgiveness and love.

Parts Unknown: A Novel
by Kevin Brennan

  • Publication Date: January 6, 2004
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0060012773
  • ISBN-13: 9780060012779