The Light of Amsterdam: A Novel

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Overview

It is December; Christmas is approaching and the magic of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities beckons. A father looks for himself in the past, struggling to deal with a recent divorce, his teenage son in tow. A single, selfless mother accompanies her only daughter and friends for a weekend-long bachelorette party. And a husband treats his wife to a birthday weekend away, somehow heightening her anxieties and insecurities about age, desire, and motherhood.

During their brief ...

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The Light of Amsterdam: A Novel

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Overview

It is December; Christmas is approaching and the magic of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities beckons. A father looks for himself in the past, struggling to deal with a recent divorce, his teenage son in tow. A single, selfless mother accompanies her only daughter and friends for a weekend-long bachelorette party. And a husband treats his wife to a birthday weekend away, somehow heightening her anxieties and insecurities about age, desire, and motherhood.

During their brief stay in the city, the confusions and contradictions inherent in their relationships assert themselves in unexpected ways, forcing each couple into a sometimes painful reassessment and a new awareness of the price that love demands. As these people brush against one another in the squares, museums, and parks of Amsterdam, their lives are transfigured in the winter light as they encounter the complexities of love in a city that challenges what has gone before. Tender and humane, elevating the ordinary to something timeless and important, The Light of Amsterdam is a novel of compassion and rare dignity.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The streets, canals, and parks of Amsterdam play host to personal reckonings in Park’s remarkable new novel (after The Truth Commissioner). Alan, a recently divorced father, drags his teenage son, Jack, to the Dutch capital for a vacation in a bid to jump-start his post-marriage life; Marion accompanies her husband, Richard (whom she suspects has been unfaithful), to the city for a birthday getaway; and single mom Karen tags along for her daughter Shannon’s bachelorette party. Park eases into each character’s story, bringing their struggles, hopes, and loves into delicate relief as they wander through their thoughts and down the cobbled lanes of the wintry city. At once an amalgam of sensitive character studies, Park’s newest is also a gorgeous portrait of the Venice of the North—as Marion, Richard, Jack, et al. navigate their various desires and disappointments, each alights on some bit of beauty. Agent: Rachel Calder, the Sayle Agency. (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"This is a novel about people, about feelings, thoughts, and struggles, and Park does an excellent job of developing the characters and making the reader care about them...a humane and touching read."—The Library Journal

 

"Remarkable...At once an amalgam of sensitive character studies, Park's newest is also a gorgeous portrait of the Venice of the North."—Publishers Weekly

 

"Poetic, hopeful."—O Magazine

 

"A humane and deeply empathetic writer, Park turns the most ordinary of interactions into a moving story of people's greatest hopes and fears."—Booklist

Library Journal
Park's (The Truth Commissioner) latest novel is crafted around three people from Belfast who are visiting Amsterdam at the same time but for very different reasons. The reader first meets Alan, a divorced father and university art professor trying to reconnect with his disaffected teenage son. Next is Karen, a working-class single mother reluctantly accompanying her daughter on a hen-party weekend they can hardly afford. The third and oldest character is Marion, a long-married wife on a short holiday with her husband away from their garden-center business. This is a novel about people, about feelings, thoughts, and struggles, and Park does an excellent job of developing the characters and making the reader care about them. As the novel develops, readers might find themselves identifying with one character, only to find they are most touched by another later on. VERDICT This might not appeal to readers of fast-paced action or mystery novels, but it is a humane and touching read, well worth a try for those who have not read Park's previous work. Fans of Irish fiction should also take note.—Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll. Lib., VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608197026
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 11/13/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 805,502
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Park has written seven books, most recently the hugely acclaimed The Truth Commissioner. He was the winner of the Authors' Club First Novel Award, and the Bass Ireland Arts Award for Literature, and three-time winner of the University of Ulster's McCrea Literary Award. He has twice been shortlisted for the Irish Novel of the Year Award. He lives in County Down, Northern Ireland, with his wife and two children.

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