Children of Light

Children of Light

3.0 1
by Robert Stone

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A searing, indelible love story of two ravaged spirits—a screenwriter and an actress— played out under the merciless, magnifying prism of Hollywood.


A searing, indelible love story of two ravaged spirits—a screenwriter and an actress— played out under the merciless, magnifying prism of Hollywood.

Editorial Reviews

David Bowman
The most unloved child of all Stone's work (even editor Robert Gottlieb hated it), this novel contains the psychic framework of a good noir while simultaneously being the burnout death of the genre (despite noble attempts at resurrection by Jonathan Lethem (Gun With Occasional Music) and Charlie Smith (Chimney Rock). Stone dispenses the crime elements offstage, and then wallows in drugs, suicide, madness, Oedipal failures and Mexico -- the traditional dumping ground for noir.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Before he is fully awake, Gordon Walker, intellectual manque, failed playwright in his 40s and modestly successful screenwriter-actor, has already consumed his daily hits of valium, alcohol and cocaine. "Stoned, abandoned, desolate,'' he is a melancholy case, teetering at the edge of the precipice; his wife has fled, his children are estranged, he feels desperately alone. Bereft, he goes to Mexico, where his old love Les Verger, a gifted actress who is herself in thrall to dope, drink and episodic madness, is shooting a picture Walker wrote. From the beginning, the air is filled with portent. Their meeting is delayed, and with each intervening event, the tension and sense of impending doom mount. When they do meet, they will be left to the mercies of their flayed nerves and their inner ruin. The tale is swiftly and expertly told; the momentum is headlong, swirling; the talk stunning, spinning out of its energies and one crackling scene after another. There can be no mistaking that this is the work of a formidably gifted writer.
Library Journal
Adrift since his wife left him, tasting "death and ruin,'' screenwriter Gordon Walker needs "a little something to get by on'' beyond alcohol and cocaine; so he seeks out his old lover LuAnne, an actress on location in Mexico where she's filming Walker's script of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. A "true'' artist who works "without a net,'' schizophrenic LuAnne is on the verge of a breakdown. Walker survives their explosive reunion and saves himself, but LuAnne acts out her carefully fore shadowed fate. Moviemaking images of dark and light, illusion and invention is the metaphorical frame for this intense, symbolic novel that dramatizes a moral vision of violence and evil in a world where "Things don't work out....They just be." Powerful fiction by the author of Dog Soldiers, which won the National Book Award in 1975. Janet Wiehe, P.L. of Cincinnati & Hamilton Cty.

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Stone (1937-2015) was an American novelist and former Chairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and nominated for the National Book Award for Fiction a total of five times, winning once for his second novel Dog Soldiers published in 1974. Some of his other best known books include A Flag for Sunrise, Outerbridge Reach, and Damascus Gate.

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Children of Light 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ending scene is at a bar, where Walker is with Shelley Pearce, a friend, and a French actor. Walker tells them that his wife was back. Shelley suggests that that would be a good title, Connie Came Home. But she supposed people would think it was an animal picture, which I thought as funny too. Walker is not amused, has given up drinking and eventually leaves the table. The ending line is from Shelley Pearce who says, ¿men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.¿ I did not really understand that line, like with many things in the book, but it could have something to do with the fact that even his immense love for Lu Anne, which otherwise comes out rather strongly, did not lead him to go with her. Or it could be the fact that she meant, that this guy, walker, after years of lading a wasted life, his spirit, his insides had all died, all for the love of Lu Anne. What I read about the author is that he generally writes about miserable souls in desperate situations. His father abandoned him at a young age and his mother was schizophrenic. The way I see it, the description of her schizophrenia, as such, is given very subtly. There are mentions of her Long Friends, which are little dark creatures. One of them is her son Charles, which appeared to be an aborted child. I was a little confused with the schizophrenia, because there were mentions of her looking into a mirror and seeing the smile, the eyes, the expression of characters played by her before, which I thought would be natural, with her being an actress. I perceive the way she dies, as a similar to that in which Edna (The Awakening) dies. Edna goes into the water thinking about her husband and children and how they were part of her life, but they need not have thought that they possessed her body and soul. This is quite a depiction of what went on in her life too. The book has a lot of dialogue, which has a lot to do with the characters and the place. The talk is very real, a few abuses thrown in.