I met Bryn Greenwood thanks to a Yahoo Group advertising itself as a writing workshop. It turned out to be massive and for me, not terribly useful—as far as I could tell the guy who’d started it did so to create a supply of “students” for his series of online classes. So I started my own little group.
Not long after, I received an email from one Bryn Greenwood, asking if we were looking for new members. I said that we were and asked for a writing sample.
What she sent blew me away. Reading her work, it was clear to me that her narrative sophistication, prose-craft and overall maturity as a writer outstripped mine. Which is a little sad, because I’m older than she is. But then I’ve never been known for my maturity.
That was six, six and a half years ago. Since then we’ve gotten to meet in real life, take a road trip from my place in Venice up the coast to my sister’s in San Francisco, chat frequently about our lives, traumas and pets. More to the point, I’ve gotten to read just about everything that Bryn has written. Well, most of it, at least. Understand that Bryn is also one of the most prolific writers I know, so that’s a lot of writing.
Given Bryn’s outsized talents and crazy productivity, I always figured she’d beat me in the race to publication. I’m still a little surprised that I got there first. The ways of publishing are mysterious and at times capricious. But I knew it was just a matter of time before some smart publisher realized what those of us who’ve read Bryn’s work already knew.
And now, here it is, Bryn Greenwood’s debut novel, “Last Will,” a book about “learning to live with the things you inherit from your family.” I’d add a line from “Last Will” that for me sums it up better than anything I could say myself: “When you get to the point where you know the worst thing about someone you love, you know the truth about yourself.”
If you like stories about survival and healing, if you like clear, precise prose, if you like reading about characters who are flawed, sympathetic but most of all, who feel real—read this book.