Capsule review Novel follows characters through stresses of 9/11

BEFORE, DURING, AFTER. By Richard Bausch. Knopf. $26.95. 345 pages.

"Before, During, After" has no hugely dramatic hook to draw the reader in, and it's all the better for that. What award-winning author Richard Bausch offers is a simpler story following two main characters through stresses and tragedies ranging from the sweeping scale of 9/11 to more mundane things, such as career changes.

Though there is much love, this is by no means a happy book. A lot of bad things happen.

Thankfully, there's very little angst for angst's sake. Instead, it's realistic actions and decisions of realistic characters whom the reader grows to care about.

It's a quietly lovely book, well-written and sad, but with the possibility of triumph.

Reviewer Carol Edwards is a freelance editor and farmer living in Marlboro County.