The light of day

I don’t really know where to start except to say that this is a perfectly enjoyable but quite forgettable little book; it’s one of those things (books, movies) where the storytelling matters more than the story itself – probably because the story is just that common and boring. But the writing is beautiful, and exiles and lost souls are always interesting to gauge.

This is a first person account of two of George Webb’s most significant cases (the one that got him dismissed from the police and the one in which he stepped over the line and became emotionally involved), intertwined with bits and pieces of his life: his relationship with his daughter, his divorce, his parents’ deaths, his unlikely passion for cooking and all those other things we one day add up and call experience.

The protagonist of the latter case is Sarah Nash, a French teacher whose ob/gyn husband is cheating on her. Nothing surprising there – Webb is after all a private detective and he seems to specialize in matrimonial issues – until she murders her husband right after he had definitively parted from his mistress.

George, whose monologue points to him being a very lonely and melancholic person, falls in love with Sarah, visits her in prison every other week and her husband’s grave once a year, on the anniversary of his death – all the while feeling some sort of guilt over not preventing the tragedy; not seeing the signs sooner. He’s a bit of a one-note guy, as guilt actually guides his through life towards the inevitable failure. It might sound depressing, but I found him oddly comforting, the same way I find rainy October afternoons comforting.

I’d say – this on a train. Or plane. Or bus. It’s a pretty nice way to pass the time in-between.

For actual reviews and a look at how The light of day can be integrated in Mr. Swift’s other works (something I definitely can’t do, since this is out first encounter) – check out The Guardian or The New Republic.


~ by ameer on January 31, 2010.

One Response to “The light of day”

  1. […] that this book is ultimately quite forgettable – and I remember I said the same thing about The light of day. And the two are actually quite similar – broaching subjects like the father-daughter […]

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