Walter Schmidt's life isn't simple: His wife Nadine wants to live next door to her dead first husband's mother, the Mississippi River is three blocks down the street and rising dangerously, FDR is dead, and the war seems like it will never end -- but for the most part, things are going Walter's way. Then one bright April morning in 1945, Walter comes home early from work to find Nadine in bed with his best friend, Sammy.
Shocked into silence, when she then calls him a "kraut," Walter becomes even more confused. True, he's a German immigrant, but he's lived in New Orleans for almost twenty years, and an hour before, he thought he was a happy American---baseball fan, reader of pulp novels, lover of gangster movies. Suddenly Walter wonders if Nadine's right, if he's more German than American, more enemy than friend. When Sammy later offers him $1,000 as an apology for sleeping with his wife, Walter accepts, desperately hoping to hurt his friend, but instead setting in motion a series of events more dangerous than betrayal and petty revenge.
Set against a backdrop of a nation exhausted by war, in a decadent city that for years has been denied its butter, sugar, and Mardi Gras, My Bright Midnight is a novel about the complications of loyalties to country, to friends, and to those we love.