Friday, May 30, 2014
Book Review: And the Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass
Author: Julia Glass
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: It's been a month or so since I read the book, and I can't remember anything objectionable. I'm sure there's some swearing, but no memorable sex and no violence.
Rosie, my three-year-old, is just starting to understand that she's adopted. We've told her that when she was a little baby we traveled to China to get her, and a few days ago she asked me if we traveled to China to get Maren (her older sister, who is my biological daughter) too. I told her that Maren grew in my tummy and was born when we lived in Texas, and she seemed satisfied and dropped it, but I know that this was just the first of many times when we'll talk about adoption and her parentage, about which we know exactly nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if there's resentment and searching and heartbreak down the road ahead of us.
Kit Noonan knows that his mother, Daphne, was a high school senior when he was born, but he knows nothing about his father. At forty, he's stuck in life. He's lost his job as an art history professor, his wife wants to throw him out, but instead suggests that he try to find his father. So Kit heads north to Vermont to see Jasper, the stepfather who helped raise him, and Jasper's digging eventually leads him to the Burns family, whose son Malachy, long dead of AIDS, was Daphne's summer boyfriend at music camp (Malachy also appeared in Glass's 2002 novel, The Three Junes).
In typical Glass fashion, the story shifts perspectives many times throughout the novel. We start with Kit's perspective, then move to Jasper's, then to Daphne's, then to Lucinda Burns's, then to Fenno McLeod's who was a much-loved character from The Three Junes. I loved delving into Jasper's story, but it was frustrating and disappointing that we didn't get resolution to any of the characters' stories except for Kit's. It felt like the characters became main characters for a while, then slipped back into barely supporting roles. But the story as a whole works, and I hope that the resolution to my kids' searching is as satisfying as Kit's worked out to be.