Books & Co.
Rosellen Brown
Before and After

Original Airdate: June 26, 1996


About the Author

Rosellen Brown earned her B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. from Brandeis University. She was a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute and taught creative writing at the University of Houston. She currently teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the Art Institute of Chicago.


About this Book

Ben and Carolyn Reiser live a placid middle class existence in bucolic New Hampshire. Carolyn is a doctor, Ben a sculptor, and they have two kids, Judith and Jacob. Things could not appear more mundane for this family of four. But then one night while working the emergency room, Carolyn is confronted by the brutally beaten corpse of a teenage girl whom she recognizes. What she does not realize is that it was her son Jacob who bludgeoned the girl to death with a car jack. This killing will explode in the midst of the family, driving both parents to reckless actions, pitting one against the other, mother against son and daughter against all. Narrated alternately by husband and wife and finally by Judith, Brown presents all sides of the contentious battle that ensues as Jacob goes to trial for murder. Ben unquestioningly supports Jacob, even going so far as to destroy evidence and lie to cops, courts and his own lawyer. Carolyn is more troubled, particularly as evidence mounts that, not only did Jacob commit this crime, he is a borderline psychopath who has molested his own sister. Finally, unable to deal with her own guilt, Carolyn sides with the prosecution.


More Resources

Rosellen Brown's website