The Sweet Hereafter

Publisher: Vintage Canada
When fourteen children from the small town of Sam Dent are lost in a tragic accident, its citizens are confronted with one of life’s most difficult and disturbing questions: When the worst happens, whom do you blame, and how do you cope? Masterfully written, it is a large-hearted novel that brings to life a cast of unforgettable small-town characters and illuminates the mysteries and realities of love as well as grief.

The Sweet Hereafter was released as a major motion picture by Atom Egoyan in 1997 and won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. Egoyan also received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay that year.


"Russell Banks' work presents without falsehood and with a tough affection the uncompromising moral voice of our time. You find the craziness of false dreams, the political inequalities and somehow the silver of redemption. I trust his portrait of America more than any other -- the burden of it, the need for it, the hell of it." -- Michael Ondaatje

"A writer of extraordinary power.... The story of Russell tells is grave and unusually urgent, his prose as careful as a trail of stones left in the forest... these voices ache with a particular brand of reality." -- The Boston Globe

"The characters are rendered with such clear-eyed affection, the central tragedy handled with such unsentimental artistry, the wonderfully named mountain hamlet of Sam Dent described in such precise (and often funny) detail, The Sweet Hereafter is not only Banks' most accomplished book to date, but his most accessible and ultimately affirmative. Russell Banks knows everything worth knowing... and much, much more." -- Washington Post Book World