The Light of Common Day

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A story about perception and misperception, about the daily intensities of adolescence - and the daily disappointments - it is a haunting novel of a young man's first introduction to sex, love, and death. It is spring 1962, and Paul Werth is a junior at Highgate, a prestigious prep school on the East Coast. Paul is smart, well adjusted, adept at school and sports; but beneath the surface there lurk tensions and strains that threaten to tear him apart - the most disruptive of which is the death of his father the ...
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This item is gently used in good or better condition. If it is a textbook it may not have supplements. It may have some moderate wear and possibly include previous owner's name, ... some markings and/or is a former library book. We ship within 1 business day and offer no hassle returns. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support! Read more Show Less

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1997 Hard cover Good in good dust jacket. Ex-library. Signed by previous owner. ex library book-dj in cell wrap Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 304 p. Audience: General/trade.

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1997 Hardcover Good This is a former library book with library stickers and stamps. 100% of this purchase will support literacy programs through a nonprofit organization!

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1997 Hard cover First edition. Fine in fine dust jacket. GIFT-ABLE as FEELS NEW, GLOSSY; pages crisp and clean, not a mark, NEAR FINE (foxing edging) w/DJ NEAR FINE (light hug ... to top spine) AS SHOWN THIS COPY; GIFT-ABLE as FEELS NEW Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 304 p. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Amy C. King (Jacket Design) New York, et al. 1997 Hardcover May 1997 1st Edition Like New in Very Good jacket First Editions. 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. 292 pp. Clean, fresh copy ... with very minor shelf wear on front and back cover, crisp pages and clean text. Dj shows minimal wear. Review: Imagine a lifetime of relative security shattered in an instant. This is the situation facing young Paul Werth in John Hermann's The Light of Common Day. Growing up in an upper middle-class suburban family in the late 1950s failed to prepare Paul or his younger brother, Matt, for their father's sudden death during Paul's sophomore year in prep school. A year later, Paul still can't catch his balance. Now a junior, Paul must somehow draw strength from the memory of his father as he struggles to cope with the suicide of a fellow student, an unrequited crush on the wrong girl, and a dangerous new friend. But life is not completely bleak--this is the year Paul discovers the poetry of T.S. Eliot and the cool jazz of John Coltrane. T Read more Show Less

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038548318X Very good in very good little rubbed dust jacket. First edition * Rare books make Fine Gifts. Quality, Value, Experience.

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New York, NY 1997 Hard Cover First Edition, 1st Printing Very Good- in Good + jacket Mylared A nice reading copy. Pages are clean and bright. Binding is tight. Book and jacket ... show some shelfwear. Jacket has been mylared for protection. Read more Show Less

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1997 Hardcover First Edition, First Printing As New in As New dust jacket in Like New jacket 9" x 6", 292 pp, copy appears to be unread and is in MINT condition, dust jacket is ... protected by a mylar sleeve, INSCRIPTION SIGNED by Herman on the endpaper, scarce signed. Read more Show Less

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N.Y. 1997 Half Cloth, Paper-Covered Bds First Edition 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. Signed Note By the Author 292p. A fine copy, in a fine d.j.

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Overview

A story about perception and misperception, about the daily intensities of adolescence - and the daily disappointments - it is a haunting novel of a young man's first introduction to sex, love, and death. It is spring 1962, and Paul Werth is a junior at Highgate, a prestigious prep school on the East Coast. Paul is smart, well adjusted, adept at school and sports; but beneath the surface there lurk tensions and strains that threaten to tear him apart - the most disruptive of which is the death of his father the year before. Still coping with that loss, Paul must sort out for himself, not always with great success, the difference between truth and appearance, while dealing with academic pressures, a faltering baseball career, a friend who may not be much of a friend, one young woman who may not match her reputation, and another who may not return his affection.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Former publisher John Herman has followed up his admired The Weight of Love with the kind of book that is more often a first novel: a bittersweet coming-of-age story about a youth at a tony prep school coming to terms with life, love and the death of his father. Paul Werth is a bright boy, good at baseball and well up in his studies, who is inclined to take people too much at face value: a girl who comes on to him out of her own deep dissatisfactions; a flashily sophisticated friend who tends to call people Bambino (the year is 1962); a truly kindred spirit who likes to pretend she is a femme fatale. Overriding all these concernsas well as a quaint fuss over drugs at the schoolis Paul's anguish over the sudden death of his much-loved father. He died a disappointed man, and his dying attempts to warn Paul about life's perils have made the boy profoundly uneasy. Much of this can hardly fail to be evocative, and sometimes, as in Paul's memories of a childhood girlfriend who succumbed to leukemia, it is truly touching. There's no denying the fact, however, that for all Herman's quiet skill as a writer, most of it is also crushingly familiar material. Perhaps this was his first novel, after all. (May)
Library Journal
Paul Werth is a junior at a private high school in 1962, and the world lies before him. But he is struggling with the pressures of adolescence, unsure of his friends, his girlfriend, and his feelings about the death of his father. These emotions are intensified when the school launches an investigation to determine which students are pushing drugs; given his status as a baseball-team starter, Paul is forced into making some unpleasant decisions. Recalling advice from his dying father, Paul soon realizes that people aren't necessarily who they seem to be. Herman (The Weight of Love, Doubleday, 1995) takes us back to coming-of-age struggles 30 years ago when crack and AIDS were unknown and the Beatles hadn't yet invaded America. Accurately capturing the confusion of youth, he leads us through the maze in smooth, readable style to Paul's recognition of self. Ultimately, however, the book feels more like a reminiscence than a a true coming-of-age story, and it won't mean much to those who didn't live through the Sixties. An optional purchase.Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. System, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Kirkus Reviews
Second-novelist Herman (The Weight of Love, 1995) chooses a genre—adolescent coming of age—that as book editor he must have seen in an excess beyond measure. To his credit, though, albeit amid many an echo of Wolfe, Fitzgerald, Knowles, and Salinger, he turns his version of the far too oft-told tale into a readable pleasure.

Paul Werth goes to Highgate, a prep school just north of Manhattan, where many of his classmates live, though he himself is from "the suburb" where the school is located. Paul is a sophomore, in the spring of 1962, a time, Herman announces, "when boys still wore their hair short and the United States was not at war in Vietnam and America had not yet heard of drugs or rebellion or failure. . . . `' Maybe so, but drugs are still one of the twin mainsprings making Herman's plot go round: Somebody is selling inside the school, and the headmaster is going to find out who. How could thoughtful, introspective Paul, a subtle thinker and omnivorous reader, conceivably be involved? Well, the second mainspring is that Paul's father died just 14 months before the book's opening—an event that plunged Paul not only into girl trouble, homework trouble, and a hitting slump in baseball, but into wondering whether life might be "literally without meaning." He really could be drug-involved, in other words, not to mention that he's also friends with the devilishly cavalier Philip Richards, a character suspicious indeed. During the raveling of Paul's classically expectable fate, Herman is at his Fitzgeraldian best in describing parties, people's looks, the smells and feels of places—and the past. Very possibly best and truest in the book—and saddest—is Paul's passionate, long-ago, grade-school love affair with little Cassandra, who only too soon. . . . But let that stay unsaid.

Herman has grown since his first book. Even working against the pitfalls of a wildly overused genre, he's able to bring in light, color, feeling, and life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385483186
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/14/1997
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 1.06 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2004

    A REAL coming-of-age story...

    Catcher In the Rye meets Rebel Without A Cause, I discovered this book by chance and I couldn't put it down afterwards...a very good read.

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