The Cold Hard Light

By Christopher Amenta

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The Cold Hard Light is a spare and bracing literary debut that tells the story of a new father who falls into the grip of obsession.The novel begins when the man who assaulted Andrew Harrison’s sister is released from prison. Benjamin Williams was barely more than a kid when he was sentenced to eleven years, but it is impossible to know what he has become since. Andrew, nicknamed H, is compelled to learn for himself when his uncle Billy hands him a gun and says to go find the man. As H’s interest in Williams grows, he struggles to keep his world in balance. His hockey career has stalled, his girlfriend suffers from postpartum depression that is neither understood nor diagnosed, and the allure of vengeance threatens to erase his moral self.Set in present-day Boston, The Cold Hard Light explores the drama of modern American urban life, where the poor work gig jobs that cater to the rich, where race can be weaponized, guns are treated like toys, and the desire to blame others trumps the need to understand them. These forces and more weigh upon the characters in this crystalline novel, hurtling them toward an irrevocable conclusion.

Full Description

Release

08-02-22

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction/Literary

Release

08-02-22

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction/Literary

Overview

The Cold Hard Light is a spare and bracing literary debut that tells the story of a new father who falls into the grip of obsession.

The novel begins when the man who assaulted Andrew Harrison’s sister is released from prison. Benjamin Williams was barely more than a kid when he was sentenced to eleven years, but it is impossible to know what he has become since. Andrew, nicknamed H, is compelled to learn for himself when his uncle Billy hands him a gun and says to go find the man. As H’s interest in Williams grows, he struggles to keep his world in balance. His hockey career has stalled, his girlfriend suffers from postpartum depression that is neither understood nor diagnosed, and the allure of vengeance threatens to erase his moral self.

Set in present-day Boston, The Cold Hard Light explores the drama of modern American urban life, where the poor work gig jobs that cater to the rich, where race can be weaponized, guns are treated like toys, and the desire to blame others trumps the need to understand them. These forces and more weigh upon the characters in this crystalline novel, hurtling them toward an irrevocable conclusion.

Editorial Reviews

“Resonating with a dark disturbing vision, The Cold Hard Light is an ambitious novel. The story, Andrew Harrison’s psychological struggle, is told with insights and nuances. An impressive accomplishment.” Ha Jin, National Book Award–winning author of Waiting

Christopher Amenta

Author Biography

Christopher Amenta is a writer living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the Boston University MFA Fiction Writing program, where he received the Saul Bellow Award and was named a Leslie Epstein Global Fellow. He completed his undergraduate degree at the College of the Holy Cross, where his fiction was recognized with the James H. Reilly Memorial Purse, and he has taught creative writing at Boston University. Christopher is currently at work on his second novel.