• Ms. Coffey

"Ordinary Hazards" by Anna Bruno

I finished this one in a single sitting. The story is unlike anything I have ever read. It almost reminded me of The Hateful Eight (2015). The whole story connects to the people that frequent the local bar The Final Final.

Immediately, I connected with the main character, Emma. I thought she was lovable, relatable, and smart. For the second part of the book, I sympathized, even more, when we found out more about her past. The side characters were also well developed.

I also enjoyed the structure of the story. As we are introduced to the characters in the room, we get a small glimpse into their lives. These parts take up most of the first half of the book. Once everyone is established, we focus more on Emma and the events leading up to the ending.

The ending blew my mind and broke my heart.

Overall, this one gave me an indie film vibe. If you love character-centered novels, I'd definitely check this one out.

Thank you NetGalley for a gifted ebook in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the book:

“Seen through keen eyes and full of deep feeling, Ordinary Hazards delves into the psyche of a woman grappling with grief, loss, and the burdens of inheritance. Anna Bruno vividly renders the messiness of a single human life in all its joy and heartbreak.” —Claire Lombardo, New York Times bestseller

For fans of Celeste Ng and Claire Messud comes an impeccably paced and transfixing debut novel about how life’s little decisions can ultimately yield the most powerful consequences.

The Final Final is the kind of bar that doesn’t exist in cities, a peculiarity of a small town that has seen better days. It is so called because it’s the last bar on the edge of town. The final stop after the final stop: The Final Final.

It is 5 pm and Emma has settled into her hometown bar for the evening, nine months after her divorce from Lucas, a man she met in this very room on a blind date orchestrated by the very locals who now surround her. As she observes their banter and reminisces, key facts about her history begin to emerge, and the past comes bearing down on her like a freight train.

Why has Emma, a powerhouse in the business world, ended up here? What is she running away from? And what is she willing to give up in order to recapture the love she has lost? As she teeters on the edge of oblivion, becoming more booze-soaked by the hour, Emma’s night begins to spin out of control.

A meditation on contemporary love, loss, and the place we call home, and in the tradition ofAsk Again, Yes and Little Fires Everywhere, Ordinary Hazards follows Emma’s epic night of finding her way back to a life worth living."

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