Electric God/The Hardest Part of Love
Electric God/The Hardest Part of Love was originally my second Simon & Schuster novel (my fourth published book), released right on the heels of Pay It Forward in the Fall of 2000. For US readers, it's back in "print" in ebook format as of October 2012. There's a reason I brought these backlist titles out in ebook only: for those who prefer paper books, there are lots of hardcovers still to be had. Both Amazon and Barnes Noble online have out-of-print books listed, both new and used, and Abebooks.com is a good source as well.
And for my wonderful audience in the UK...a new UK edition is here, newly titled The Hardest Part of Love. It was released in May 2011.
In My Own Words:
Hayden Reese is an angry man. He has a bad habit of breaking people’s jaws and getting thrown into jail. Granted, he only breaks jaws that deserved some breaking, but his anger is tearing his life apart. And now he’s starting a whole new feud, this time with the once-estranged, now-reconciled husband of his lover, Laurel. This is the one that will very nearly cost him his life.
The story then swings back in time to the roots of Hayden’s anger: the father who tormented him, the kid brother who got all the approval, and the one fatal mistake that Hayden has never been able to forgive himself for making.
Back in Hayden’s present, as he is trying to get out of the hospital and back on his feet, his daughter Allegra comes back around. He hasn’t seen her in more than 15 years, but she’s getting married, and wants her father to walk her down the aisle. But Hayden can barely walk. And he’s not ready to confront the wife and daughter who exiled him, his family of origin, and his painful past. But the past catches up with Hayden, ready or not. And Hayden, now too disabled for violence, must work all the way through his anger and find new ways to make peace with his life.
Here's what the reviewers had to say about Electric God:
The Denver Post said, "Truly exceptional books are about human connection. Writers like Catherine Ryan Hyde understand that. 'Electric God,' Ryan Hyde's exceptional follow-up to 'Pay It Forward' (Simon & Schuster), is much more than a welcome arrival. It is a full-fledged blessed event. Catherine Ryan Hyde is a magnificent storyteller, an expert at plot and pacing and voice. But it is her protagonist, Hayden Reese, who makes 'Electric God' a classic in the truest possible sense. Ryan Hyde's 'Electric God' is the answer to a prayer—a heroic, superbly crafted novel worth reading again and again and again." (Kelly Milner Halls)
The San Francisco Chronicle said, "'Electric God' is a complex, tightly constructed novel of genuine pathos, yet its tone is deceptively light, as though it were poking fun at the very concept of allegory. 'Electric God' is nonetheless very much a modern allegory about love. 'The trick is to love somebody who'll actually do you some good,' as someone tells Hayden. 'That's the part hardly anybody gets right.' Ryan Hyde spins her tale so effortlessly that the reader closes the book with a quiet sense of elation, and only later notices that 'Electric God' is still there etched on the psyche, like the imprint of a lightning bolt upon the eye." (Roxane Farmanfarmaian)
Publishers Weekly said, "The natural cadences of Hyde's prose; her clever, realistic dialogue; her sharp descriptions of hard-scrabble country; and her warm humor raise the novel…to the level of a complex tale of one man's struggle to make sense of life. Inspirational rather than preachy or sentimental, the book wields the emotional power to be expected from a story of family, dogs, justice and self-reliance."
Library Journal said, "In Hayden Reese, Hyde has created an exceptionally complex and unforgettable character, and she tells his story skillfully in remarkably clean, economical prose. A worthy successor to Pay It Forward, this should meet with the same success, especially in the light of the film version of the previous book."