AND THE DARK SACRED NIGHT by Julia Glass
“It is the time of year when Kit must rise in the dark, as if he were a farmer or a fisherman, someone whose livelihood depends on beating the dawn, convincing himself that what looks like night is actually morning. His only true occupation these days, however, is fatherhood; his only reason for getting up at this dismal hour is getting his children to school.”
Review by Jill I. Shtulman Â (APR 8, 2014)
Julia Glassâ€™s latest book strikes right to the core of personal identity. How do we solidify our sense of who we are if we donâ€™t know where we came from? In what ways can we take our place in the universe if our knowledge of our past is incomplete?
Kit Noonan has reached a fork in the road. Underemployed with no clear sense of purpose, he is floundering, until his wife urges him to take some time away to work out the secret of his fatherâ€™s identity. That search leads him back to his stepfather Jasper in Vermont â€“ a self-sufficient outdoorsman who effectively raised him along with two stepbrothers. Eventually, the journey brings him to Lucinda, the elderly wife of a stroke-ravaged state senator and onward to Fenno (from Julia Glassâ€™s first book) and his husband Walter.
Through all this, Kit discovers the enigma of connections and which connections prevail. As one character states,
â€ś..the past is like the night: dark yet sacred. Itâ€™s the time of day when most of us sleep, so we think of the day as the time we really live, the only time that matters, because the stuff we do by day somehow makes us who we are. We feel the same way about the presentâ€¦. But there is no day without night, no wakefulness without sleep, no present without past.â€ť
The biggest strength of this novel â€“ by far â€“ is the beautifully rendered portrayal of characters. Kit, Jasper, Lucinda and her family, Feeno and Walter â€“ even Kitâ€™s twins â€“ are so perfectly portrayed that they could walk off the pages. As a reader, I cared about every one of them and â€“ as the book sequentially goes from one character to another â€“ I felt a sense of loss from temporarily leaving him or her behind.
The only weakness was an overabundance of detail (scenes, back story, etc.), which robbed me of using my imagination to â€śfill in the blanks.â€ť While vaguely discomforting, this story is so darn good and the writing is so darn strong that I was glad to be immersed in its world for the several days I was reading. Kitâ€™s journey and his recognition of what â€śfamilyâ€ť really means — and our imperfect connected world — has poignancy and authenticity.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 9 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Pantheon (April 1, 2014)|
|REVIEWER:||Jill I. Shtulman|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Wikipedia page on Julia Glass|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review of:|
- Three Junes (2002)
- The Whole World Over (2006)
- I See You Everywhere (2008)
- The Widower’s Tale (2010)
- And the Dark Sacred Night (April 2014)