Bright’s Passage



Author: Josh Ritter

Title: Bright’s Passage

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 193

Geographical Setting: Rural West Virginia; Battlefields of France

Time Period: early 20th Century, WWI

Plot Summary: After returning to his small family farm in West Virginia from the WWI battlefields in France, Henry Bright plans to settle down and raise a family. When his wife dies in childbirth, Bright takes his infant son and tries to outrun both his vengeful father-in-law and the forest fire that is quickly sweeping through the mountains. Through this, Henry is guided by an angel that has followed him home from the war, promising to keep him and his son  safe. Frequent flashbacks return Henry to the nightmares of the battlefields and to his childhood in rural West Virginia. This complex and moving story reveal the heartache of war and the hardships endured by the Appalachian people. Fans of Josh Ritter’s music will find Bright’s Passage as lyrical and haunting as his songs.

Subject Headings: World War, 1914-1918–Veterans–West Virginia–Fiction

Appalachian Region–Social life and customs–Fiction

Appeal: builds in intensity; haunting; heartwarming; character-centered; flashbacks; layered; West Virginia; forest fire; rural; details of WWI and early 20th-century Appalachia; poetic; simple language; regional; descriptive

3 terms that best describe this book: Poetic, haunting, character-centered

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors 

The Battle on Blair Mountain: The story of America’s largest labor uprising by Robert Shogan – details of early 20th Century Appalachia; regional; haunting

Loyalty in time of trial: the African American experience during World War I by Nina Mjagkij WWI; layered; social conditions

Eisenhower by Carlo D’Este – details of WWI; character-centered; layered

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Bloodroot by Amy Green – Appalachian region; haunting; lyrical; family saga

Burning Bright: Stories by Ron Rash – Appalachian region; lyrical; strong sense of place

Justice for None by Gene Hackman – Historical fiction; World War 1 Veterans; layered

Name: Portia Kapraun



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