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This fourth novel by O.H. Bennett represents a departure from his earlier work, characterized by rich depictions of African-American families rendered in quiet but powerfully charged prose. These qualities are present in Recognition, but with the addition of a twisting plot and thriller-like intensity.
Dana, a single-mother, is driving home one rainy evening when, as she passes a homeless panhandler, she recognizes the features of her long-absent husband. Warren Reynolds disappeared from Dana's life a decade earlier his body mysteriously missing after a terrible auto accident from which a pregnant Dana was rescued. After glimpsing the man she believes might be her husband, Dana begins surreptitiously searching for him, and is plunged back into memories of the difficulties they were grappling with at the time of Warren's disappearance. She struggles with whether she can reveal her belief that her husband might be alive to her friends, her in-laws, and, most importantly, her son.
Masterful and psychologically penetrating, Recognition is a taut, engrossing work from a critically acclaimed author. Bennett, known for his terse style and vivid characters rooted in the mainstream of African-American experience, has put his rich, unique, and riveting storytelling talents on full display for all readers.
O. H. Bennett is the author of three previous novels, Creatures Here Below, The Colored Garden, and The Lie. He lives in northern Virginia.