Henry Childs is just seventeen when he falls into a love affair so intense it nearly consumes him. But when young Mercy’s disapproving father threatens Henry’s life, Henry runs as far as he can–to the other side of the world.
It is 1950 and the Korean War hangs in the balance. Descended from a long line of soldiers, Henry enlists in the marines and arrives in Korea on the eve of the brutal seventeen-day battle of the Chosin Reservoir–the turning point of the war–completely unprepared for the forbidding Korean landscape and the unimaginable circumstances of a war well beyond the scope of anything his ancestors ever aced. But the challenges he meets upon his return home, scarred and haunted, are greater by far.
Praise for The Coldest Night:
“Thought-provoking [and] unabashedly romantic” –O: The Oprah Magazine
[An] elegiac, gritty coming-of-age novel.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
“It’s extremes that rivet us in Olmstead’s searing seventh novel: the heaven of first love; the hell of the battlefield . . . Olmstead’s extraordinary language gives us new eyes. An exceptionally fine study of love, war and the double-edged role of memory, which can both sustain and destroy. Prize-winning material.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Olmstead (Coal Black Horse) has a spare, direct style that is most effective in the brilliant, engrossing combat descriptions and ironic marine banter.”–Library Journal
“Olmstead employs different authorial voices to shape the story. At times the tone is mythic, at times surreal . . . The Coldest Night is powerful, and often beautiful, storytelling.” –Booklist
Read an excerpt:
Robert Olmstead is the author of seven previous books, including Coal Black Horse and Far Bright Star. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an NEA grant, Olmstead is a professor at Ohio Wesleyan University.