My favorite book read in 2012 was published in 2010, and recommended to me by my dear friend Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company, an independent bookstore in Milwaukee. Daniel is one of the best recommenders of books around, and he has a very active blog. When Daniel mentioned Day for Night, I jotted it down on my list of books to be read, but by the time I was looking for something to read and stumbled over that title, I couldn’t remember anything he said about it. Still, trusting Daniel’s book recommendations, coupled with the fact that the author lived in the Boston area, I decided to give it a try. I was blown away. So superb, and a debut too! I am eagerly awaiting Frederick Reiken’s next novel.
Near the end of Frederick Reiken’s powerful novel Day for Night, one character says of another, “… if I thought hard enough, I’d come to understand her purpose.” With Reiken’s novel, I feel the opposite. The harder you ponder and try to make all the many story threads come together, the more elusive it all becomes. Yet when you take a step back and don’t try so hard to figure it out, it all flows and comes together like elegant artwork or music. In Day for Night, each of the ten chapters is told from the point-of-view of a different character. They are structured like individual short stories, yet all the stories are linked in some way, and they all build a larger tapestry. With topics as far ranging as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, marine biology, the Nazi’s persecution of the Jews, and environmental sensitivity syndrome, and a cast of characters that span continents and generations, Day for Night has mystery, romance, history, adventure… even a little science fiction when looked at from a certain angle. It’s the kind of tale that sticks with you for hours or days after you’ve read it, and haunts you in the best of all possible ways. I loved it.