Published by Anchor
Publication date: January 6th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Literary
Kit Noonan is in his early 40s and finds himself stuck at a place in his life where he doesn’t want to be. Jobless, he stays at home with his twin son and daughter while his wife works. When she suggests that his inability to get on with his life is related to the fact that he doesn’t know who his biological father is, he begins a backwards search to move forward. This is Julia Glass’ new novel And the Dark Sacred Night, and through it she explores the many layers of family relationships in a way that makes for thoughtful reading.
Kit’s mother Daphne has always refused to tell him about his father and even when he presses her now, she says only that he is dead. Beyond that she feels it’s “water under the bridge” and should not be pursued so Kit goes to her second husband, Jasper, the man who largely raised him and who knows part of Daphne’s secret. A quiet and respectful man he reaches out to Kit’s paternal grandmother to get her consent to meet with Kit. For Lucinda Burns this is the moment she has been waiting for since Daphne cut her out of Kit’s life decades ago but she is now a grandmother and her own children do not know about Kit’s existence. The only truth Daphne has given Kit is that his father is indeed dead. Beyond that there are a number of familial intricacies to be navigated and Glass does with a hand that is both gentle but firm. This is no extended family fairytale.
There is much to be told in And the Dark Sacred Night just as there is in any family history but it is not a story of suspense nor does Glass intend it to be. Instead, it is a beautifully wrought novel of the impact the past has on the future and how the decisions made by one person can have ramifications for those who come after them. With her careful prose she brings together a widespread cast of characters who confound the traditional standards of family to forge their own connections. She does so with a quiet manner of commonsense that acknowledges the limits of all involved and the realities of time but still leaves room for hope and an eye to the future.
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