• Michael Braccia

Book Review - The Cypress House by Michael Koryta

Updated: Aug 4, 2019


Book Review: The Cypress House (Michael Koryta)

Koryta gives us a story of love, loss and death. Arlen Wagner travels across America with a young companion in search of work. He had served in the great war, witnessing death on the battlefields of Europe. Arlen also had a secret and he vowed never to share that secret. However, the part of his life that he kept secret had left him with a talent – not a talent of which he was proud – and this enabled him to save his companion’s life, knowing that many of his fellow travellers would perish on the train journey they shared. Arlen Wagner could see death in the eyes of men who were about to meet their maker:

“He had seen it in men before – a trace of smoke in the eyes and the flash of bone where flesh should be that promises imminent and certain death”.

Not to everyone’s taste, but Koryta is an excellent writer. He draws the character of Wagner, a man toughened by war and extreme family circumstances, but enables him to find love. When Arlen is stranded with his friend Paul at the Cypress House with a hurricane approaching, he won’t abandon the boarding house’s owner to face the storm alone. Rebecca has entered his life and he doesn’t want to lose her. Koryta forces us to turn the page, and the next, and the next...

Michael Braccia

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