11 May, 2015

#BookReview :: The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

In the beautiful, barren landscape of the Far North, under the ever-present midnight sun, Frances and Yasha are surprised to find refuge in each other. Their lives have been upended--Frances has fled heartbreak and claustrophobic Manhattan for an isolated artist colony; Yasha arrives from Brooklyn to fulfill his beloved father's last wish: to be buried “at the top of the world.” They have come to learn how to be alone.

But in Lofoten, an archipelago of six tiny islands in the Norwegian Sea, ninety-five miles north of the Arctic Circle, they form a bond that fortifies them against the turmoil of their distant homes, offering solace amidst great uncertainty. With nimble and sure-footed prose, Dinerstein reveals that no matter how far we travel to claim our own territory, it is ultimately love that gives us our place in the world. 

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The Sunlit Night tells the story of two youngsters, Yasha and Frances, who come from different backgrounds and fate have their paths cross at Norway. Frances is there to intern with an artist after a recent break up with her family and also another break up within her family. Yasha on the other hand is there to fulfill his father’s last wishes. Both have certain baggage that they carry and when they meet, they feel a certain connection. As friendship blossoms, they find comfort in each other. 

When we break down the characters of Yasha a Frances, it is easy to like them and empathize with them for the most part. They are both very different personalities that bring in a variety of flavors to the story. To read the story from their individual point of view made it interesting. However, even with their given background, I really cannot digest the way they sometimes think of their parents. I realize that not every relationship is perfect and neither of our protagonists had a set of ideal parents. The thoughts they entertained about their parents still felt unnatural and almost disgusting at times. As a result I could not really warm up to the characters completely. Except for that one particular factor, the book is mostly well written sprinkled with engaging dialogues and a dash of humor. She has also successfully described the two very different places (Norway & US) in details. Also, while I initially thought that this would be a love story, and to some extent it is, but it is so much more than that. It sends us a message about accepting reality, handling grief, rediscovering yourself and that one can find a kindred soul at the most unexpected turns.

Overall, this makes for an above average read that I did end up enjoying it.

Review Copy received from Bloomsbury India

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