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Day for Night: A Novel
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Day for Night: A Novel

3.1 16
by Frederick Reiken

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As a child, Beverly Rabinowitz fled Europe with her mother during World War II. Almost half a century later, while she is vacationing in Florida, a chance encounter leads to a strangely lucid moment in which she senses that her father, long believed to have been killed during the war, is close by. It's the first of many seemingly random events that are guiding her


As a child, Beverly Rabinowitz fled Europe with her mother during World War II. Almost half a century later, while she is vacationing in Florida, a chance encounter leads to a strangely lucid moment in which she senses that her father, long believed to have been killed during the war, is close by. It's the first of many seemingly random events that are guiding her toward a startling discovery.

In the course of Frederick Reiken's provocative, intricate novel, Beverly will learn that her story is part of something larger. Because the story is not hers alone—it's also the story of a comatose teenage boy in Utah, an elusive sixties-era fugitive, an FBI agent pursuing a twenty-year obsession, a Massachusetts veterinarian who falls in love on a kibbutz in Israel, and a host of other characters. DAY FOR NIGHT illuminates how disparate, far-flung people can be connected, and how the truth of those bonds can upend entire lives. Each chapter is a small universe of its own, and together they form a dazzling whole.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Brilliant plotting, haunting characters and an elegiac tone distinguish this dazzling novel by Reiken...Contemporary fiction at its best-accessible, breathtaking and heartbreaking."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)"

An intricate, subtly fantastic, six-degrees-of-separation tale shaped by the beauty, continuity, and mystery of nature. . . . It's an entrancing and profoundly complicated tale Reiken tells as he slowly reveals the submerged connections among his intriguing characters while sustaining psychological sophistication, suspense, shrewd humor, and many-tiered compassion."—Booklist (starred)"

A compelling tale in which one thread deftly connects 10 people....An imaginative and exciting read."—Publishers Weekly"

What begins as a typical family drama becomes a chain reaction of plot twists. . . . . Day for Night is a beautiful test in patience, but by the end, you'll see it was worth the wait."—Very Short List"

A thought-provoking, intricate portrait of the far-reaching, intergenerational implications of the Holocaust - and how fortuitous circumstances can bring people from both sides of a tragedy closer together, and, in some cases, further apart."—S. Kirk Walsh, Los Angeles Times"

Day for Night is a joy and a rare thing, a feast for the mind and the heart that almost demands a second reading."—Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Co./NPR"

This novel magically and eloquently links swimming with manatees in Florida with a comatose young man held hostage in Utah, a fugitive radical woman, and a kibbutz on the Dead Sea. It's beautifully written, magnificently cerebral, entirely compelling."— Ellen Meeropol, Odyssey Bookshop

Kirkus Reviews
Brilliant plotting, haunting characters and an elegiac tone distinguish this dazzling novel by Reiken (The Lost Legends of New Jersey, 2000, etc.). Criticized for his books' many plot coincidences, Charles Dickens claimed that those who don't notice coincidence in their lives simply don't have their eyes open. Reiken seems to hold similar views on concatenation, dexterously using "coincidence" to move his narrative from one relationship and place to another. The novel starts with David and Beverly, an unmarried but committed couple snorkeling around manatees in Florida. David's leukemia is in remission, but he wants Beverly to adopt his son if he should die. Beverly then links up with Tim, their "manatee scout," who's in a local band with vocalist Dee. The next part of the narrative follows Tim and Dee as they fly to Salt Lake City to visit Dee's brother Dillon, who's in a coma as the result of a motorcycle accident. Sitting next to them on the plane is a woman who turns out to be a fugitive (of sorts), a much-sought radical from the 1960s; FBI agents' pursuit of her becomes the next segment of the narrative. The following chapter presents the point of view of Jennifer, Beverly's brilliant but somewhat wayward daughter, on her mother's relationships. And so it goes. Reiken segues from character to character with remarkable virtuosity, grounding the narrative in several seemingly disparate but ultimately unifying topics, including the mass murder during World War II of 500 Jews (Beverly's father and uncle perhaps among them) and an Israeli soldier's abortive attempt to save a Palestinian boy from falling off a roof, an event that we learn later is connected to Dillon's motorcycle accident.While Reiken ties his narrative knots, he leaves them satisfyingly loose. Contemporary fiction at its best-accessible, breathtaking and heartbreaking.

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Margot Livesey
From the dazzling opening chapter of Day For Night, Frederick Reiken makes clear that the stakes for his characters, and for his readers, are nothing less than everything. Here is a world, our world, in which no-one gets to escape the net of history and no-one, finally, gets to deny their human connections. I held my breath while I watched Reiken assemble his own extraordinary minyan. (Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street, The Missing World, etc.)
Kevin Canty
Day for Night is beautiful, original, brilliant and swift. A novel that seems to be about everything, everywhere, yet wears its ambitions lightly and keeps hold of a strong, mysterious emotional core. I admired every page of it and can't wait to read it again. (Kevin Canty, author of Everything: A Novel, Where the Money Went, etc.)
Richard Russo
Day For Night does what really good books so often do by forcing us to see the familiar world in new ways that reveal its wonder. It's a nifty trick that not every writer can pull off. Frederick Reiken can and does. (Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic, Nobody's Fool,etc.)

Meet the Author

Frederick Reiken is the author of two previous novels, The Odd Sea (1998) and The Lost Legends of New Jersey (2000). His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker and his essays in the anthology Living on the Edge of the World (2008). He has worked as a reporter and columnist and is currently a member of the writing faculty at Emerson College.

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Day for Night 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
TheCrowdedLeaf More than 1 year ago
Take the middle section of a puzzle apart from the whole. Imagine you've selected ten pieces. Break them from each other so that they're no longer connected. Then put them back together again. It seems easy enough. Curves in the side of each piece match only with their corresponding partners. Details of the picture start to form. Now turn each of those pieces into a person, and put them in a book. That is Day For Night by Frederick Reiken. Each chapter is a piece of a much larger puzzle, and only when you've finished the book, connected each piece to its partner, can you truly see the beauty of the whole, intricately designed work. This is Reiken's third novel and I will confess that I've had his second novel, The Lost Legends of New Jersey, on my unread bookshelf for five years now. I've had it ever since he gave it to me in a fiction seminar course in 2005. Time flies and I never read it and then I saw his name with a new book and I thought to myself, "I should review it." But when I received Day For Night from Hachette I became afraid. Afraid to read it in case I wouldn't like it. Afraid I would have to tell a former professor that I didn't like his work. How silly I was. I admired the cover first, and read the book description which summarized by saying: "Gliding effortlessly across time and space, in settings that range from Florida to New Jersey to the Caribbean and the Dead Sea, Day For Night builds toward moments of revelation, when refugees from their own lives, or from history's cruelties, come together in unpredictable and extraordinary ways." Then I began the first chapter and thought, "I hope the rest of the book isn't about this lady." That might be an awful thing to think, but bear with me. The first chapter is about a woman who we later learn is named Beverly. She's in Florida with her boyfriend (who has cancer) and his son. Through random circumstance she forms a friendship with a young boat driver who has taken them on an excursion to see manatees. I thought the book was going to turn into Beverly having an affair with the boat driver, which would have disappointed me which, in my defense, is why I thought what I did. But again, silliness. The second chapter picks up from the boat driver's experience some time later. He's on an airplane with Dee, the girl who sings lead in their band. She has a story as well. They all do. Every new chapter picks up a connection with the previous chapter's characters and leads off in a new voice and a seemingly new tangent. Soon you are following Dee's story, her traumatic childhood and comatose brother, and where her brother was before he was in a coma, and who helps him, and where they came from, and more. So much more. But the best part is that the tangents all start to come together. And it's beautiful, and enigmatic, and ebullient, and tragic, and vastly confusing in the best ways possible. This book has people running from persecution to escape the holocaust, and people who were tortured by Nazis. It has people dying of cancer, and people finding each other after months of separation. It has old loves, and secret loves, and reunited loves. It is heartbreaking and hopeful, intriguing and suspenseful. It's simply fabulous. And you should read it. Find the rest of my review at http://thecrowdedleaf.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/review-day-for-night-by-frederick-reiken.
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Tulipmedia More than 1 year ago
On certain rare occasions, reading a novel so moves you and so intersects with the subjective facts of one's own life, that the resulting literary experience can be described as "extraordinary". My time with the audiobook of DAY FOR NIGHT was just such an experience. The author has successfully melded numerous themes and different voiced characters over an extended historical timeline with the end result being a better and deeper understanding of what in our lives we hold precious and dear and what in our lives is truly meaningful. Plot points and character analysis are secondary to the amazing gestalt created by Reichen as he takes the reader on a journey into deep personal revelations regarding the true meaning of life and living. Highly recommended and unforgettable.
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grumpydan More than 1 year ago
At first this may seem like a collection of short stories about different people from various points of view. It makes you wonder how they are all connected. But as you delve into Day For Night, their lives are interwoven some subtly, some not. Reiken has written a novel filled with plots, sub-plots, interesting characters and intertwining lives.
Readerguy More than 1 year ago
Nothing short of wonderful. Reiken has created a magical and haunting work of interwoven stories -- a tapestry whose shapes we begin to recognize only as we step back. I can't remember the last time I put down a book with absolute certainty that I would read it again. When this comes out in paperback, I'm going to recommend it for every reading group I can. Trust the professional reviewers on this book. You'll be very glad you did. (btw: Reiken's earlier novel, "Lost Legends of New Jersey," is very special too. It's now a print on demand title, I gather, and thus harder to find, but well worth the effort. I recommended it to a lot of people, and they all liked it a lot.)
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