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And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Stuck in a nightmare of unpaid bills, dwindling bank accounts, and leaky roofs, unemployed art-history professor Kit Noonan needs a jolt. Convinced that deep-seated identity issues are fueling Kit’s inertia-inducing depression, his wife urges him to find the identity of his biological father, a fact his otherwise loving mother refuses to divulge. To solve the mystery, Kit embarks on a journey that takes him across the northeastern U.S., starting with a visit to his gruff and outdoorsy stepfather’s home, and ending with a revelation that transforms his life in ways he could never imagine. Woven throughout the narrative are flashbacks to key events in Kit’s history, including the tender and beautifully told story of the relationship between Kit’s mother and father. Divided into sections written from the perspective of key characters, Glass explores the pain of family secrets, the importance of identity, and the ultimate meaning of family. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Although Glass borrows characters from her National Book Award–winning Three Junes, it is not necessary to have read that previous book to enjoy this lovely, highly readable, and thought-provoking novel. --Kerri Price

Review

“Winner of the National Book Award for her 2002 debut, Three Junes, Julia Glass takes another sympathetic look at the complexities of contemporary life in this novel about family secrets. . . Examining complicated family relationships among several families whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways, this warm and engaging story about what it means to be a father will appeal to most readers.” —Library Journal
 
“Glass explores the pain of family secrets, the importance of identity, and the ultimate meaning of family . . . HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Although Glass borrows characters from her National Book Award–winning Three Junes, it is not necessary to have read that previous book to enjoy this lovely, highly readable, and thought-provoking novel.” —Booklist, starred review 

 
The Widower’s Tale
“Beautifully sensitive . . . The Widower’s Tale is about the rub between old values and new times . . . In the tradition of Jane Eyre, it builds to a conflagration, a crisis that shakes everyone out of their complacency. But Glass quickly smothers the flames of catastrophe, for her vision is essentially more hopeful than tragic.” —Los Angeles Times
 
“A satisfyingly clear-eyed and compassionate view of American entitlement and its fallout . . . [Glass] approaches the ties of kinship with the same joyfully disruptive spirit that animated her previous books.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“A masterful exploration of the secret places of the human heart.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
 
I See You Everywhere
“Glass is the Edith Wharton for the twenty-first century.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“Rich, intricate, and alive with emotion . . . An honest portrait of sister-love . . . Brave and forgiving.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
The Whole World Over
“Beautiful and satisfying, chock-full of the gorgeous, heartbreaking stuff that makes life worth living.” —The Rocky Mountain News
 
“A voluptuous treat.” —Entertainment Weekly
 
Three Junes
“Enormously accomplished . . . Rich, absorbing, and full of life.”—The New Yorker
 
“Radiant . . . An intimate literary triptych of lives pulled together and torn apart.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“Almost threatens to burst with all the life it contains. Glass’s ability to illuminate and deepen the mysteries of her characters’ lives is extraordinary.” —Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307377938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377937
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Julia Glass’s latest book strikes right to the core of personal identity. How do solidify our sense of who we are if we don’t know where we came from? In what ways can we take our place in the universe if our knowledge of our past is incomplete?

Kit Noonan has reached a fork in the road. Underemployed with no clear sense of purpose, he is floundering, until his wife urges him to take some time away to work out the secret of his father’s identity. That search leads him back to his stepfather Jasper in Vermont – a self-sufficient outdoorsman who effectively raised him along with two stepbrothers. Eventually, the journey brings him to Lucinda, the elderly wife of a stroke-ravaged state senator and onward to Fenno (from Julia Glass’s first book) and his husband Walter.

Through all this, Kit discovers the enigma of connections and which connections prevail. As one character states, “..the past is like the night: dark yet sacred. It’s the time of day when most of us sleep, so we think of the day as the time we really live, the only time that matters, because the stuff we do by day somehow makes us who we are. We feel the same way about the present…. But there is no day without night, no wakefulness without sleep, no present without past.”

The biggest strength of this novel – by far – is the beautifully rendered portrayal of characters. Kit, Jasper, Lucinda and her family, Feeno and Walter – even Kit’s twins – are so perfectly portrayed that they could walk off the pages. As a reader, I cared about every one of them and – as the book sequentially goes from one character to another – I felt a sense of loss from temporarily leaving him or her behind.

The only weakness was an overabundance of detail (scenes, back story, etc.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Isch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Big Julia Glass fan here. But not as enthralled as I expected to be by her latest novel, the story of a thirtysomething husband and father of twins who's lost his job and whose wife thinks that what he should do, now that he has the time, is to search for the father he never knew and put an end to that gaping hole in his life story once and for all. Christopher, known as "Kit," takes her up on it.

All these many years, his mom has pointblank refused to tell Kit anything at all about the dad he never had and will not be persuaded to do otherwise. So, while Ms.Glass is filling us in on the Mom & Dad backstory, Kit takes to the road to go visit his former stepfather, Jasper, the nice guy whom Mom long ago divorced, to see what info he might be able to pry out of him. After Kit's couple of weeks or so with Jasper, his two visiting sons and some snow storms, Jasper decides to go against his ex wife's wishes and try to help Kit by secretly putting in a call to Kit's paternal grandmother to see if she and her family would be willing to meet with their grandson. Turns out she is more than willing. Delighted, in fact. As is Dad's old pal Fenno MacLeod, whom many of you will remember as the leading man in Glass's National Book Award winning novel, "Three Junes." Soon plans for a family reunion are underway.

At heart, this is an interesting story--but as a very prolonged novel bogged down with incredibly long and detailed accounts of the lives and thoughts of its relatively ordinary characters? Not so much. Took me a little over a week to plow through what would normally for me have taken just a couple or three days.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Susan D on April 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I won't go into the plot summary as a number of reviews here explain that aspect of this novel quite well, but just wanted to join those saying they were completely swept up by Glass's emotional, historical, and cultural intelligence; her moving, complex characters; and her often luminous prose. While I had to think back to some of the details of Malchy Burns' life and death — as well as Walter's (from "Three Junes" and "The Whole World Over"), I felt as if I were trying to think back to people I'd briefly known intimately 15 years ago and had to remind myself of who they were and who we have become. Glass made me want to reread her earlier books — which says a lot as I'm often someone who reads a lot but only tends to reread books I teach. Glass is completely an adult author in the way she handles people — and I love that about her novels. She's compassionate. She's hopeful that people can at least try to become their best selves. She's unafraid to explore a range of different personalities, members of both genders and multiple generations — all why addressing how people have behaved in certain moments of our shared history — behaviors they may regret in hindsight, or at least need to revisit and rethink. She also touches on so many people going through experiences similar to those I know — former professors now living as adjuncts while trying to pay the bills in New Jersey, young people who know very little about AIDS (let alone life before technology), musicians barely earning a living, book store owners who can now longer function in Manhattan, mountain climbers who need new hips and new relationships.Read more ›
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