A gripping and deftly plotted narrative of family and belonging, Lights All Night Long is a dazzling debut novel from an acclaimed young writer
"A luminous debut. . . . It's hard not to read the book in a single sitting."--The Los Angeles Times
"Lights All Night Long is utterly brilliant and completely captivating. . . . One of the most propulsive, un-put-downable literary novels I've read in ages."--Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
Fifteen-year-old Ilya arrives in Louisiana from his native Russia for what should be the adventure of his life: a year in America as an exchange student. The abundance of his new world--the Super Walmarts and heated pools and enormous televisions--is as hard to fathom as the relentless cheerfulness of his host parents. And Sadie, their beautiful and enigmatic daughter, has miraculously taken an interest in him.
But all is not right in Ilya's world: he's consumed by the fate of his older brother Vladimir, the magnetic rebel to Ilya's dutiful wunderkind, back in their tiny Russian hometown. The two have always been close, spending their days dreaming of escaping to America. But when Ilya was tapped for the exchange, Vladimir disappeared into their town's seedy, drug-plagued underworld. Just before Ilya left, the murders of three young women rocked the town's usual calm, and Vladimir found himself in prison.
With the help of Sadie, who has secrets of her own, Ilya embarks on a mission to prove Vladimir's innocence. Piecing together the timeline of the murders and Vladimir's descent into addiction, Ilya discovers the radical lengths to which Vladimir has gone to protect him--a truth he could only have learned by leaving him behind.
A rich tale of belonging and the pull of homes both native and adopted, Lights All Night Long is a spellbinding story of the fierce bond between brothers determined to find a way back to each other.
Fitzpatrick's glittering debut tells the story of how 15-year-old Ilya's wildest dream going to America is shattered by his worst nightmare: doing it without his older brother. Ilya, a gifted Russian teen in Berlozhniki, so impresses his English teacher Maria that she pins on him her hopes, and the hopes of the town: that he will pass an exam allowing him to go on exchange to America for a year. Having passed the exam, Ilya flies to live with the Mason family in Louisiana in 2008, but his thoughts are still at home, where his older brother, Vladimir, is in jail for the murders of young women that Ilya knows he didn't commit but to which Vladimir has confessed. Ilya struggles to adjust to American life as he works to prove his brother's innocence, looking online for information about what the three murdered girls have in common and eventually piecing together enough clues to lead him to a shocking discovery. He is helped by Sadie, the Masons' blunt oldest daughter, a high school freshman, who is dealing with her own family secrets. The murder mystery is intricate and well-crafted, but the highlight is the relationship between the two brothers the shy brainiac and the charming addict and in the smoldering, seething resentment felt by young people. This is a heartbreaking novel about the lengths to which people go to escape their own pain, and the prices people are willing to pay to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones.