Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review: And the Dark Sacred Night

I am a big Julia Glass fan. I even reread her first novel before starting this one because I knew she'd be revisiting some old characters. Glass is a phenomenal writer and I have read all of her books. So I was expecting to fall in love with And the Dark Sacred Night and I'm disappointed to say I did not.

Don't get me wrong: this book is well written. The dialogue is pitch perfect, the characters feel like real people, the premise is juicy. Readers of Three Junes get to find out what happened to the son Malachy abandoned. But, somewhere along the way, Glass took a weird turn in the story telling. She started jumping   months and years ahead, skipping over the complicated emotional (interesting) parts of the story and describing the mundane moments that led up to them: the board games played and meals prepared during a rainy weekend, the excruciating details of an archival job involving Inuit art.

For the life of me, I can not imagine why Fenno was in this book. I liked seeing him again, but his short friendship with Kit's long dead father did not make him relevant to this family reunion. That he might have been secretly in love with Mal doesn't give him any meaningful information to bestow on Kit. And he doesn't. While I could understand Kit's desire to connect with his biological father's family, I could not understand why he wanted his mother to spend a weekend doing the same. Or why he withholds from his children how they're related to these people they're spending time with.

The story gets back on track for the last three pages and manages a satisfying conclusion. I just wish she'd go back and rewrite the last third of the book.

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