IN PINELIGHT by Thomas Rayfiel
Kirkus Star


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The mysteries of life in a small town are beautifully told through the monologue of an old man’s musings.

Rayfiel has created a poetic world through William, his narrator, who answers questions put to him by a real or imagined, but unseen, questioner about his life and those around him in Conklingville, a town now buried beneath the deep waters of a hydroelectric dam. William imagines the town below, seen through the shimmering, moving water. Rayfiel builds a narrative around the memory of a damaged man. There is no linear storyline; it jumps and stutters, runs into beautiful thoughts and touches on the ugliness of life. William is a throwback to an earlier time: a handyman and a carter who would rather spend time with horses than people. “A horse will take on any mood whatever you feel inside that’s what animals are for they show you what you’re feeling,” he says. And William is feeling much. His family has suffered tragedy—the disappearance of his sister—and the town itself revolves around several mysteries that bring the edgy side of small-town life to the surface. William tries to connect the dots of wayward clues and memories for the man who is asking him questions offstage. Here, the unknown, the unspoken, is as strong a narrative force as the spoken. This novel is unusual in form but beautiful in delivery. Nothing on the surface is what it seems, including the narrator’s vision of God. “See the real book it’s not the bible but us maybe we’re all together one big book…and He’s reading it turning the pages…and we’re just words on a page.”

An eloquent exploration of life seen through an aging man's eyes.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8101-5236-6
Page count: 280pp
Publisher: Northwestern Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2013


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