Cover image for Electric God
Electric God
Hyde, Catherine Ryan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster, [2000]

Physical Description:
318 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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From the author of "Pay It Forward" comes a novel that is both a compelling drama and a deeply moving love story, a contemporary reinterpretation of the Book of Job.

Hayden Reese once believed he could have it all. He had a wife he loved completely, a daughter he adored, and a new child -- a son, they were told -- on the way. And then little by little, his life came undone.

But this destruction mirrored a much older trag-edy. Hayden's life had begun to come apart years before, when his little brother died in an act of bravado -- caused by his insistence on playing the role of the cocky, confident son their father wanted -- an accident Hayden felt he should have been there to prevent.

Years later, when Hayden loses his son at childbirth, his ancient rage against the unfairness of life overwhelms him. Eventually this rage robs him of everything else he has loved in this life -- his marriage, his family, his home.

As "Electric God" begins, Hayden Reese is a middle-aged man unsuccessfully trying to bury his past. He is newly released from jail, living a marginal life in a remote California town. He has just buried his

Author Notes

Catherine Ryan Hyde lives in Cambria, California.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Hayden Reese is a man who had it all--a wife, a family, and a future--and let it slip away. Hayden didn't realize what he had until it was completely stripped from him. When his son was born dead, something snapped in Hayden. Years of pent-up anger at his abusive father and guilt at the part he played in his little brother's death finally caught up with him, and Hayden let it spill out of his fists. Now, years after being released from jail for almost killing a young man, alone and barely getting by, Hayden is still down on his luck. He just buried his beloved dog, and his girlfriend just went back to her husband. Struggling for answers from a seemingly deaf God, Hayden refuses to see the part he played in his own downfall, and it will take one last life-threatening event before he understands the meaning of all his suffering. Hyde's follow-up to Pay It Forward [BKL D 15 1999] is a beautifully crafted story of one man who had to lose everything before he could find forgiveness and redemption. Hyde is inspiring and uplifting without sentimentality and creates in Hayden a modern-day Job. --Carolyn Kubisz

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hayden Reese has never cried. Not when his younger brother died 36 years ago, not when his son died at birth, not even when, 15 years ago, he ended up in jail for assaulting his daughter's boyfriend and lost his wife and family. In Hyde's (Pay It Forward) latest novel of redemption and forgiveness, 50-year-old Hayden is a present-day Job, living alone in a little cabin in Northern California, reading the Tao Te Ching and attempting to control the violent outbursts that have plagued him all his life. Just as he thinks he has touched bottom, his girlfriend, Laurel, returns to her husband, whom Hayden beats up, getting shot and almost killed for his pains. In the hospital, Hayden is tended to by a feisty lady surgeon, and gets a second chance to reconcile with his past and set a new direction for the future. 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 from the level of Touched by an Angel to that 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. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Hayden Reese seems a modern Job, and no wonderÄat 50, he has lost virtually everything that ever mattered to him, and he's clinging to life after being shot by an angry husband whose wife he loved. His troubles began early; in his mid-teens, Hayden was powered by hatred for his cruel and irrational father and burdened with guilt over the death of his younger brother. In the early years of his marriage his losses continued, some of them exacerbated by Hayden himself, a big, powerful man whose fear makes him mean and whose fists alone can do dreadful damage. Well schooled in the Bible, Hayden finds parallels with Jonah as well, as he wrestles with a higher power who tests him harshly. Eventually, Hayden comes to term with God and finds the greatest heroism in the act of forgiveness. In Hayden Reese, Hyde has created an exceptionally complex, unforgettable character, and she tells his story skillfully in remarkably clean, economical prose. A worthy successor to Pay It Forward (LJ 11/15/99), this should meet with the same success, especially in the light of the film version of the previous book. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 8/00.]ÄMichele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Book 1 Division Road
Chapter 1 The Headlight Zone
Chapter 2 Flame with a Man Inside
Chapter 3 Mister, That's an Ugly Dog
Chapter 4 Ask for Peg Special
Chapter 5 Searchlight
Chapter 6 It's Like This, Scott
Chapter 7 Red
Book 2 Jonah Was an Angry Man
Chapter 1 Steam
Chapter 2 No More Baby
Chapter 3 The Book of Reese
Chapter 4 Pennies
Chapter 5 Forty Days and Forty Nights
Chapter 6 Say It Like You Mean It
Chapter 7 Jonah Was Thrown
Book 3 One Fulcrum Moment
Chapter 1 The Dead Guy in
Chapter 2 Veterans Day
Chapter 3 How to Spot a Hero
Chapter 4 Shrinkage
Chapter 5 But You Can't
Chapter 6 He Is Delivered from the Fish
Chapter 7 A Power Not Electric Epilogue