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Review: Day for Night, Frederick Reiken

I’m going to have to quote the back of this one; I’m not sure how I’d go about summarizing it myself!

‘”If you look hard enough into the history of anything, you will discover certain things that seem to be connected but are not.” So claims a character in Frederick Reiken’s wonderful, surprising new novel, which seems in fact to be determined to prove the opposite.  How else to explain the threads that link a middle-aged woman on vacation in Florida with an elusive sixties-era fugitive, as well as a dozen or so other characters whose lives seem to be mysteriously intertwined?  As the story travels from Florida to Salt Lake City to New Jersey to the Caribbean to the Dead sea, this wondrous, exquisitely crafted novel glides effortlessly across time and space, reaching forward and back and building toward unexpected moments of revelation.’

I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I started this book.  I immediately liked the way it was written, but I wasn’t sure where the stories were going.  That first jump between the different strands threw me a little and I didn’t really understand how anything was connected.  But it was a book club read and an ARC, so I persevered, and I ended up rewarded.

I loved the way the stories melded themselves together and sometimes actually didn’t.  That’s okay; it felt a bit more realistic because of it and it perfectly balanced some of the coincidences throughout.  Each small story led to another small story, each interesting and surprisingly full fleshed character to another, and every facet of the book wove together beautifully.  I honestly could never have the imagination and capacity for narrative scope that Reiken must have; I am already an intense admirer of him and I’ve only read this one book.  I’m eager to read more, after this.

I really appreciated the way so many of the stories connected with the past and the book showed how history can resonate through people’s lives and how events can influence actions and thoughts decades after they happened.  People are not floating about in a vacuum; our history and culture make us who we are in many ways.  World War II was the perfect choice for this book, I think, because so much of that does still affect us in enormous ways.  Reiken has a lot to draw on and he does so without an absolutely masterful skill.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this beautiful book.  It takes a little while to get into Day for Night, but once you are I am firmly convinced you’ll be hooked – and thrilled you read it.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free from the publisher for review.

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