Bright’s Passage, the debut novel from renowned singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, will be released June 28 on Dial Press/Random House. Already receiving critical acclaim, Thomas E. Ricks (Fiasco, The Gamble) praises, “After earning his place as one of the most gifted songwriters of our time, Josh Ritter goes off and writes a terrific novel. This is one of the finest first novels to come our way in a long time,” while Dennis Lahane (Mystic River and Shutter Island) heralds, “Josh Ritter is already one of this country’s most accomplished songwriters. Based on the heartbreaking, luminous Bright’s Passage, he may become one of our most accomplished novelists as well.”
As a special preview to fans, the first chapter of the book is currently available for download at www.joshritter.com. A select series of events are planned in support of the novel, including appearances in New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland (OR), and Seattle. Ritter will also head out on a small tour this summer, including a series of co-headlining dates with the Old ‘97s as well as appearances at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival and the DMB Caravan tour.
The novel follows a young, widowed veteran of the First World War, Henry Bright, as he and his infant son, along with an unlikely guardian angel flee from a forest fire and Bright’s cruel in-laws. Shifting between their strange journey through West Virginia’s foothills, Bright’s memories of the trenches of France, and recollections from his childhood, the novel is at times suspenseful, quiet, and often humorous. Known for the storytelling and literary sophistication of his lyrics, Ritter has long explored the idea of writing fiction, but was finally spurred to begin Bright’s Passage after he found a song idea refusing to stay within the bounds of the form. The resulting novel was written over an extended period of time on tour buses, in between shows, and during early mornings at home. In Ritter’s own words, “A story that started as a song is now a world inhabited by characters that are still surprising to me.”