Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Sudden Light: A Novel by Garth Stein

I asked and received this book through NetGalley for free. This review is not sponsored nor influenced in anyway. The book is expected to be published on September 30, 2014
First Impressions

"When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story" These are the opening line of the description of the book at NetGalley. I like coming of age stories, and throwing a bit of ghost stories seemed like an interesting mix.

However, by the time I finished the book I ended up with a bitter taste in my mouth. The book tried to go a bit all over the place but it never took me away. I was sadly never engaged by the characters pr the story.

Final thoughts

The book is told in the voice of Trevor, a 14 year old that is now on the old family house, with his dad in a quest to try to convince his senile grandpa to sell the family's property. Living with the grandfather is his aunt Serena, whom he has never met before. His mother is in England in the meantime, taking a bit of time off since his parents are having some relationship problems.

If the book would've concentrated on one or maybe two things I think the potential of the story would've been achieved. However, in my opinion, the author tried to merge too many elements. The coming of age of Trevor is clouded by the psychological mystery going on with the aunt, plus the ghost of his grandmother AND his great great-uncle and the issues of his father and the aunt's boyfriend, and the grandfather's illness and...So much things going on! At a certain point it is mentioned that apparently Trevor is gifted, but this information is thrown there like extra information without giving the story any extra flavor. 

Ironically for a story that takes so many twists and turns, these end up being predictable and hence a lot of times I would find my mind drifting off the story.

While the story was definitely not my cup of tea I have to say that it was well written; the prose and the cadence of the work were very well structured. For me was just a problem of engaging with the story and the characters.

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