Light of Day is a powerful and illuminating novel about love, loss, and the unforeseeable darkness that lurks around the corners of everyday life.
Respected professor Jack Owens brought his son, Danny, to Gilbert, Indiana, to escape a betrayal too painful to endure anywhere but in this quiet midwestern college town. After ten years, Jack believed they were safe. But on a seemingly ordinary day, the world Jack thought he knew and the future he anticipated abruptly come apart at the seams, leaving him haunted by the questions: Why? and What next? Redemption, however, could come with the arrival of an unexpected friend whose prescient understanding slowly helps Jack cope with the unacceptable. But with healing comes clarity—and secrets best left unrevealed by the stark, glaring light of day.
Journalist and TV writer Saul's excellent debut features a grim and compelling narrative marked by individual scenes that feel forceful and dynamic. On a May afternoon, Jack Owens, a professor at a small Indiana college, learns that his 15-year-old son, Danny, has committed suicide. Long divorced from Danny's mother, who abandoned them for the New York artist's life, Jack has nothing but "always the silence, the absence of Danny." Saul sets himself a difficult task portraying a grieving parent from a close point of view in a way that feels authentic but not suffocating and he acquits himself admirably in earnest, strong prose: Jack "was lying on his bedroom floor naked, the telephone pressed under his cheek. He was holding on to one of Danny's baby pictures and mumbling to himself.... He could not remember coming down here, or who he'd tried to call, or when." An understated mystery propels the narrative: was Danny's death a suicide, or could it have been murder? What were the reasons for either? Saul subtly offers both clues and red herrings, and he handles the final revelation with control. Though the singular, grieving perspective of Jack can be claustrophobic, this is a gripping, emotionally charged tale.