How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets

Winner of a Pacific Northwest Bookseller Award

Tenth Anniversary Edition

Featuring a conversation between Garth and his editor, Bryan Devendorf, drummer of The National.

Fathers never forget seeing their kids for the first time. But Evan is greeting his son, Dean, fourteen years late. The boy had been shuttled secretly to another city, along with his teenaged mother, while still a newborn. Now his mother has passed away, and Evan is it–Dad. An instant single parent.

Instead of smiles and gurgles, Dean is full of snarls and resentment. Little wonder. So Evan must win over his teenaged child or forever suffer the guilt of having failed his son. In the process, he has to contend with his own uptight Anglo-Saxon paterfamilias. Also his chosen work–rock musician.

Evan, thirty-one, is the one-time lead guitarist for a hot group with a hit single. Except that was then, this is now. At present, he is a sometime guitar instructor for middle-aged guys trying to coax funky sounds from their electrics. Or else doing menial work in a music shop. Hardly the stuff of dreams or success.

Dean changes everything. Evan can’t keep drifting now that he’s a responsible father. He will have to do something about his life if he’s going to provide for the two of them. Partly it will mean facing his own father, at long last. Mostly it means facing up to himself and a nagging, burning issue that is like a hole in his soul–the epilepsy that haunts him and threatens his every moment.

“Hits all the frets of a powerful story: sharp-witted dialogue, vivid characters, insight into medical challenges and prose that snaps like well-placed plucks of guitar strings . . .  I hold up my lighter and turn it full-flame for [Garth] Stein’s latest work. Encore!”

The Seattle Times

“A beautifully un-shiny novel of passion, forgiveness and the life force that is fatherhood.”

PNBA Awards Committee

“An engrossing family drama…”

Publishers Weekly

“Stein handles the many narrative elements deftly.”

Seattle Weekly

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