The Night Following
Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee for Best Novel 2009
On a blustery April day, the wife of a doctor discovers that her husband has been having an affair. Moments later, driving along a country road, she fails to see sixty-one-year-old Ruth Mitchell up ahead, riding her bicycle. She hits her, killing her instantly, and drives away.
Horrified by what she has done, the doctor’s wife begin to unravel. She turns her attention to Ruth's bereaved husband, a man staggering through each night, as unhinged by grief as she herself is by guilt.
At first Arthur Mitchell does not realize that someone has begun watching him through his windows, worrying over his disheveled appearance, his increasingly chaotic home. And when at last she steps over through his doorway and insinuates herself into his life, he is ready to believe that, for reasons beyond his understanding, his wife has returned to him.
'Her latest and perhaps her best ... tears into territory totally unbeholden to genre conventions.' (Boston Globe)
'The Night Following' has an arresting central idea, which becomes a compelling plot, superbly developed. A woman, already rendered somewhat invisible to herself by an uncaring husband, takes a life by accident. Unable to face the idea of the visibility she will now have to endure, she plays to her strength - she disappears. But she disappears into penance; she hides herself in the ambience of the widowed husband and, as reparation, begins - without his knowledge - to take care of his devastated life. Understated, and written in Joss's - as ever - sparse and elegant prose, this is a novel about us all. It’s about the way we hover between what we have to do and what we want to do and what we need to do, and it is beautifully accomplished.’