Paper pub. date
October 2014
ISBN 9780870717505 (paperback)
ISBN 9780870717512 (ebook)
6 x 9, 284 pages.

The Brightwood Stillness

A Novel

Mark Pomeroy

When Hieu Nguyen, a Portland high school teacher, is accused of sexual misconduct by two of his students, his close friend and colleague Nate Davis tries to lend support. But Nate has recently been assaulted by a former student in the school parking lot, an event that brings on not only sharp anxiety, but a final push into a long-deferred quest to find out what happened to his uncle, a drifter and a Vietnam veteran.

Meanwhile, Hieu’s family life is tested. Straining to hold form amid a police investigation into what happened in his classroom, Hieu seeks enough solitude to piece together the story of how he fled war and arrived in the US, how he came to be a father to three children in a bewildering, beloved new land—and how he’ll cope with a now uncertain future.

As their stories unfold in parallel, Hieu and Nate must confront the ways in which their pasts—each so linked to a mysterious far-off country—have left them isolated men.

With its vivid look at friendship and the challenges of cross-cultural communication, its poignant take on the legacy of Vietnam, and its Pacific Northwest setting, The Brightwood Stillness will remind readers of the best elements of A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain and Snow Falling on Cedars, while compelling them through a maze of love, betrayal, and finally, redemption.

About the author

Mark Pomeroy lives with his family in Portland, Oregon, where he was born in 1969. The Brightwood Stillness is his first novel.

Read more about this author

"Far too often, literature that examines cultures foreign to a reader can make it difficult to cut through the facts of that culture and enjoy the story... the story does not suffer from the minutiae of cultural detail. It is a book meant to be read as a precursor to examining your own family, friends and history"  —Stephen Alexander, The Portland Tribune

"This novel is perceptive and humane – I recommend it." -- Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Bellingham Herald

"Even though Pomeroy’s novel directly grapples with the U.S. – Vietnam War, (it) does important work in drawing attention to the underrepresented battleground of education … The most compelling aspects of the novel are the glimpses into the internal realities that complicate the external perceptions. I commend Pomeroy's novel for its efforts to explore the uncertainties and struggles of Vietnamese American identity, as well as its contribution to the discussion about student and teacher we-being that should be at the center of ongoing debates about education.” – Jade Hidle,

"[Pomeroy] has done a lot of research to produce this book, and uses what he found well ... I recommend this book to those who love to read literary novels dealing with the Vietnam War. The characters are well-developed and believable, if difficult to empathize with due to their own stubbornness. I guess that makes them all the more human." —David Willson, The VVA Veteran (

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