First Lightby Charles Baxter
In a novel of extraordinary resonance and power, Charles Baxter takes us backward through the lives of Hugh and Dorsey Welch, a brother and sister born and raised in a small Michigan town. We meet them as adults - Dorsey , an eminent astrophysicist, Hugh a quiet unassuming Buick salesman in their hometown - and discover their pasts: difficult marriages, dark and destructive love affairs, moments of triumph, of disappointment, of sheer joy.
As he traces their paths back to the day of Dorsey's birth, Baxter reveals the experiences that put such a distance between Hugh and Dorsey, and the ties of imperfect love that bind them together. And as Paul Auster has written, "gradually we begin to understand that Baxter is telling our own story, that this is how our own lives are formed within us."
“A novel of great emotional power, of heart-twisting intimacy and intellectual force.” —Newsday
“An intricately reflective, simply beautiful book.” —Los Angeles Times
“Only a virtuoso could manage such a narrative, and Baxter is and does.” —The Washington Post Book World
“A book one reads with pleasure from the first word to the last for the delicacy and truth of its perceptions.” —J. M. Coetzee
“[Baxter’s] prose is like filtered late-summer light dancing through leaves not quite turned yet—a light bathed with sadness, humor, and a clear, intelligent intensity.” —USA Today
“First Light is a novel that moves backward in time, traveling from past to present as though through a tunnel of memory. . . . Like Chekhov, [Baxter] is both tough-minded and compassionate, and he never makes his characters more or less than what they are. They are human, and that in itself is a rare achievement for a writer, a thing to be celebrated above and beyond all other achievements in this splendid book.” —Paul Auster
“Here is a voice worth listening to, a voice that has shown itself, in this wonderful, magical novel, to command the music of the spheres.” —San Jose Mercury News
“Without question, Charles Baxter is among our best contemporary writers—always graceful, always dramatic. Superlatives are insufficient. Here is literature. Here is art.” —Tim O’Brien
“Charles Baxter asks the most wonderful questions and addresses the most essential subjects—the things we have been thinking but haven’t . . . known how to begin to say.” —Francine Prose
“It’s exceedingly rare to come across writing as seamless and engrossing as Charles Baxter’s.” —The Plain Dealer
“Light and dark, the motifs of Baxter’s haunting and human fiction touch the reader in evocative ways.” —The Boston Globe
“Baxter’s passionate writing raises the level of regard for life itself, let alone the art of writing.” —Howard Norman
“Moves over everyday details with the inexorable, contrary tug of memory.” —Time
“First Light illuminates the way out of the abyss and into the miracles and wonders that comprise life.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“First Light is a daredevil technical feat, and very much more besides that. Charles Baxter’s long-term admirers will find that it satisfies their highest hopes.” —Madison Smartt Bell
- Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.28(w) x 7.44(h) x 0.56(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Charles Baxter is the author of the novels The Feast of Love (nominated for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, and Shadow Play, and the collections Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. He lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Date of Birth:
- May 13, 1947
- Place of Birth:
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- B. A., Macalester College, 1969; Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1974
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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'First Light' is a unique and beautiful story about family and the relationships that define who we are. Baxter's writing is, as always, luminous and yet full of longing. He is a master of creating characters whose lives become intertwined with our own. This book is a great read.
I read this book about 7 years ago in college - time has drained some of the details from my memory, but the pleasure I got from reading it has stayed with me, so much so that I may buy it again. I heard the author speak not long after reading it and enjoyed that, too. The backwards narrative technique, in my opinion, is the best part about the book.
When I got to the end of this novel I cried for twenty minutes, it was so beautiful.
Gets up and stretches walking out