And the Dark Sacred Night

by Julia Glass

Monday, July 3, 2023

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This was another book I found by looking at available books on Libby in random order and picking the first one with an appealing cover - I think it was second in the sort. And definitely a hit, a good read and I really like having very few expectations about what a book is going to be like when I pick a new author.

The story begins with Kit, 40ish, with a family of his own, he’s recently unemployed art history lecturer, but the thing looming over his head is not knowing who his father was. He’s the son of a teenage mother and she’s not telling. With that beginning I was expecting something more straightforward than what I found. The story doesn’t stick with Kit but is told in a sequence of long narratives from other people involved. Often it seems as if their stories are going to be peripheral but it gradually builds up a whole picture. If anything it was the flashes back to his teenage mother’s (and father’s) point of view that seemed rather unnecessary; they were too direct to match pace with the rest of the story.

The author introduced a character in the third narrative who had a point of view so opposed to my own that I almost put the book down, it gave me an “oh, is that really where this story is going?” moment but I’m glad I persevered a bit longer because that wasn’t where the story was going and I ended up having sympathy with how that character had come by that point of view and what’s fiction for if not to show us how people other than ourselves work.

A well written and enjoyable story, enough loose ends got tied up that it felt like the story got told, and enough threads were left dangling that it felt real. Definitely an author I’ll be looking out for again as I like this kind of rambling family tale.