LIGHTS ON THE LAKE by Gregory Maguire


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There are fewer fantastic flights and supernatural visions and mysteriously animate objects in this sequel than in The Lightning Time (1978), yet Maguire does confront solemn, twelve-year-old Daniel with a formidable array of weird forces in order to cure a grief- and guilt-stricken young poet rendered almost catatonic by his friend's death on a camping trip. The vacant and ailing poet, Nikos Griskas, is an old friend of Daniel's friend Father August Petrakis. He is dumped on the rectory porch by an exasperated older sister just moments after Father Petrakis has left for a six-week retreat. Daniel hauls the young man inside, whereupon the housekeeper takes over and defends his presence to the older priest in residence there. But Daniel feels compelled to help Nikos even though the latter scarcely responds to his overtures. Finally, Nikos' case comes together with the inexplicable phenomena Daniel has been experiencing: there's a large black bird who drops him a feather and later takes him on midnight flights into the villagers' dreams of past and future death. And then there are those strange misty lights, like throbbing pillars, which Daniel and school friend Susan spot on occasion on Canaan Lake--and which, in a moment of blinding explosive grace, materialize as Nikos' dead friend, absolving him. It's all attenuated with portent, breathlessly serious, and reverently steeped in the tradition of children's Christian fantasy--but there is more shimmer and symbol here than body and blood.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1982
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux