A Sudden Light

A Sudden Light

by Garth Stein

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439187036
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

Garth Stein is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels, A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain, and two previous novels, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets and Raven Stole the Moon. He is the cofounder of Seattle7Writers, a nonprofit collective of Northwest authors working to foster a passion for the written word. He lives in Seattle with his family. Visit him online at GarthStein.com.

Hometown:

Seattle, Washington, USA

Date of Birth:

December 6, 1964

Place of Birth:

Los Angeles, California

Education:

BA Columbia University, Columbia College, '87, MFA Columbia University, School of the Arts, '90

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for A Sudden Light includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Garth Stein. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

When fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell and his bankrupt father arrive at Riddell House on Puget Sound, Trevor knows little about his father’s family or the history of the spectacular, decaying mansion. He knows only that his parents have separated and they must convince his grandfather to allow them to sell the house if there is to be any chance of reuniting his parents. But he soon learns that the Riddell family secrets are as numerous as the house’s secret rooms, and that there is something—or someone—in the house with an agenda counter to his father’s. It becomes clear to Trevor that generations of Riddells are in in need of redemption before the family can be lifted from its collective guilt. Trevor may be the only one who can save them and, in turn, save himself from this oppressive cycle.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. The novel is narrated by Trevor as an adult looking back on his time at Riddell House. How does his adult point of view shape the narrative? Why do you think the author chose to frame the novel this way? How would it have been different if the story were told from Jones’s perspective?

2. Jones tells Trevor that they are going to Riddell House so they can convince Samuel to sell it. What other reasons does Jones have for returning? What does he really hope will come of their visit?

3. What sort of woman is Serena? Why do you think she never left Riddell House? In what ways does she control the family narrative? What are some of her redemptive qualities?

4. Grandpa Samuel talks about what his wife, Isobel, knew: “If you feel you don’t have enough, you hold on to things. But if you feel you have enough, you let go of things.” Do you agree? What does each character in the novel hold on to and how does it motivate their actions? Who is most willing to let go?

5. A Sudden Light features generations of men. Other than Serena, the women in the story play a relatively minor role yet often have a lasting impact. How did Isobel, Rachel, and Alice influence the men in their lives?

6. Consider the theme of redemption in the novel. What drives Elijah’s and Benjamin’s wish to return The North Estate to its original wild forest? What do they have to atone for? Will returning the land to wilderness redeem them?

7. Why was Benjamin so conflicted during his lifetime? Is his internal conflict a result of his upbringing or education or sexuality? How much of it is a product of the place and time in which he lived?

8. What is the significance of the carving of a hand holding a globe that Harry made for Riddell House? What does the carving symbolize to Benjamin, Isobel, Samuel, Jones, and Trevor?

9. The “eternal groaning” is one of the characteristics of Riddell House. How are Riddell House and The North Estate used as characters in the novel?

10. The beauty and power of nature deeply move Benjamin and Trevor. What do they experience while climbing the great tree near Riddell House? How is Trevor transformed by the climb? Have you felt something similar in nature?

11. Trevor tells Dickie that he chooses truth over loyalty. Do you think seeking answers makes Trevor disloyal to his family? When Trevor reveals what he has learned to his father, what happens?

12. How does the author’s portrayal of ghosts and spirits differ from other ghost stories you’ve read? Did the distinction of ghosts versus spirits make sense to you? Why were Trevor and Samuel the only ones who could see the ghosts?

13. In what way was Jones’s death an act of love? How was it a promise he had to fulfill?

14. Elijah Riddell wrote: “no man is beyond redemption as long as he acts in redeemable ways” and Ben wrote: “It is not prayer, but in deeds that we find absolution.” What burdens have Elijah, Ben, Samuel, Jones, Serena, and Trevor each carried? Was each a permanent obstacle to success in life? Were the characters able to change their fates?

15. What does “faith” mean in the context of this novel? Are faith and belief the same thing? How would you answer the question: “How do we reconcile the differences between what we see and what we know?”

Enhance Your Book Club

1. The writings of John Muir play a key part in A Sudden Light. Research John Muir’s life and read some of his works. Discuss the influence Muir had on Benjamin and on this novel.

2. Choose an outdoor setting—such as a member’s backyard, a local park, or a restaurant patio—for your book club meeting in which to discuss A Sudden Light.

3. If there a mansion or estate in your area that is open to the public, consider touring it with your group and learning about the history of the house and those who built it. What would the land have looked like before it was developed? What impact did the house’s owner have on your local area?


A Conversation with Garth Stein

What inspired you to write A Sudden Light?

I originally wrote about these characters in my play, Brother Jones, which was produced in Los Angeles in 2005—its one and only production. The idea for the play came to me in a dream. Seriously. I had a dream about a house that was alive—haunted by the ghost of a dead ancestor—and communicated with its denizens through creaks and groans. I wrote the play over a hazy few months, working from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. while listening to a CD of R.E.M.’s Life’s Rich Pageant set on endless repeat. When I was writing the play, sometimes (usually after midnight) I felt like the characters were standing behind me, talking into my ear. I was afraid to turn around and look.

So the ideas of an old house, ancestral spirits, timber, and assisted suicide collided in my dream. And when that sort of thing happens, a writer has to start taking notes.

How do the play and the novel differ?

Theater is about the immediacy of drama—the now of drama. Whatever the baggage of the characters, it’s about the characters interacting on a stage in front of us, and it can be quite explosive and energetic and passionate. With novels, on the other hand, we have time to delve into the history of the drama—how we got to the now.

My play was about a family that had grown dysfunctional over generations. Still, it was about the immediate family—the latest generation. When it was time for me to write a new novel, I wanted to revisit that family, but I wanted to really delve into their history and explore the previous generations. So the novel A Sudden Light is much more expansive in terms of bringing the characters to life, as well as bringing the surroundings of The North Estate to life.

What was your biggest challenge in writing this novel?

My biggest challenge was finding the narrative voice. My story is so large in scope—five generations of a wealthy and influential timber family—it was difficult to find a way to tell the story without it becoming unwieldy. And that’s when Trevor came into the room and I realized that telling the history of the family through the eyes of the youngest member was a great way to unfold the drama.

When I first started writing, I tried to tell the story from fourteen-year-old Trevor’s point of view, with the story unfolding as he discovered things in the house. It almost worked, but I found it difficult to have Trevor wade through volumes and volumes of journals and letters and documents. By adding the lens of Trevor as an adult recalling a summer from his childhood, I was able to create a perspective that a fourteen-year-old could not have had at the time. From Trevor’s adult perspective, he can point us to the specific diaries, journal entries, and letters we need to know to understand his story. In other words, all stories have a narrative point of view—a narrative bias—as does mine. By choosing this narrative path, I was to tell the intimate story of a fourteen-year-old kid who was trying to figure out his place in the world, while also relating the epic story of the Riddell family.

The novel has a significant historical component. How did you prepare to write about Elijah and Benjamin Riddell and the timber industry?

I did quite a bit of reading about the Northwest and the timber industry. It’s a compact history, so I was able to grasp the broad sweeps of it pretty quickly.

I absorbed another historical element a little more organically: I grew up down the hill from The Highlands, a wealthy enclave in North Seattle upon which I based The North Estate. When I was a kid, my father drove our family by the Seattle Golf Club all the time. And I spent my summer days walking the railroad tracks or playing at Boeing Creek, the northern border of The Highlands. The old Boeing mansion loomed over us, perched high on the bluff.

I also did some field research for A Sudden Light—I climbed trees with the help of climbing guru Tim Kovar. Tim uses a minimally invasive rope technique to climb very tall trees. Just recently, he and I climbed an eight-hundred-year-old redwood in California. It’s really a spectacular experience: the physical aspect of being so high in a tree, as well as the spiritual connection a climber develops with the tree as he climbs. The tree, a living organism, reveals its personality as one spends more time in its embrace.

The conflict between industry/development and conservation underpins the novel. Is this something you feel strongly about? How do we balance the need for resources and development with conservation?

I do feel strongly that we have to live thoughtful, considerate lives. This doesn’t mean that development and conservation cannot live together. On the contrary, it means both can thrive as long as each movement is aware and respectful of the other.

The conflict between industry and conservation is intrinsic to our developing civilization, and it certainly was evident in the building of the western United States. To build houses and businesses and cities, we needed wood. Wood was abundant in our forests. One tree—two thousand years old or more—could build many houses. And when the houses and businesses and cities built from this old tree burned down, as they inevitably did (e.g., the great fires in Seattle, San Francisco, and other cities), enterprising people could always find more two-thousand-year old trees to cut down.

But at some point we begin to destroy the very things that make us strong. When that happens, we are faced with the truth: we must moderate our growth and at the same time make a deliberate and considered plan for utilizing our natural resources.

Two men from very wealthy families—one of them a timber family—understood this idea before others did, and they implemented a conservation plan that has provided the public with our much cherished National Parks: Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot.

Family relationships, especially father–son relationships, are at the heart of this novel. Why do the Riddells have such difficulty relating to one another?

I think that within our families we have expectations for behavior. We expect that all of our agendas will synchronize and work toward a common goal. But that’s never the case. A son has different ideas from his father. A sister has goals different from her brother. The tension comes, then, when our desire to please our family conflicts with our desire to please ourselves.

I think this is common in families, and most families deal with it in a more or less functional way. The Riddell family, however, is comprised of extreme personalities and extreme desires, so the conflict becomes much more explosive.

You write beautifully about Benjamin and Trevor’s experiences in the forest. Have you experienced something similar? What is your favorite place to spend time outdoors?

I grew up in the Northwest, and spent much time in the woods exploring, riding my bicycle through the back roads of Washington and camping out with a good friend of mine, sailing on Lake Washington, and so forth. So I feel a special attachment to nature, as do most of us who grew up in Pacific Northwest. Things are different now than they were when I was a kid, and the quietude of nature can be more difficult to find. Still, I love walking in the Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island or spending time at the little cabin we have there. I love taking my boys on a hike up to Mount Si or Rattlesnake Ridge or to Denny Creek. And if none of these ideas for getting away work, it’s always good to climb high into a tree!

How much of Trevor’s fourteen-year-old self is based on your own experiences? Did you wish to be a writer when you were a teenager?

Keep in mind that questions like this imply that the writer has a certain level of self-reflection that he probably doesn’t have, or else he wouldn’t be writing books about fictional families with long histories. In other words, Trevor isn’t based on my experiences at all, but at the same time, he’s based entirely on my experiences. I like to think of my young self as inquisitive, clever, good with the timely retort, passionate, honest, and true. I was probably more brash and impulsive, and more annoying than funny. But, yes, I wanted to be a writer when I was a teenager.

Yet this is an important thing to remember: old Trevor is telling the story of young Trevor, and, as we are told in the preface, time and the retelling of stories distort those stories. So in the relating of Trevor’s summer, old Trevor has judiciously edited and crafted the story, no doubt changing some details and compressing some moments for dramatic purposes. Perhaps old Trevor deleted some of young Trevor’s brash and impulsive qualities in order to make young Trevor seem more clever and passionate; maybe old Trevor was able to provide young Trevor with retorts we always wish we could have delivered in the moment, if we had only had thought of them! In my mind, young Trevor spent days and weeks going through old journals for evidence of his family’s history. But in the retelling of the story—through old Trevor’s eyes—we skip all the superfluous stuff and cut to the good stuff; the embellishment of the storyteller is certainly felt.

What is your favorite book with a similar narrative structure to yours: an older person narrating his own childhood?

Two books that I really enjoyed reading—maybe so much that I looked to them for their guidance—are A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, and Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick. Both of these employ an adult character relating a story from his youth. In Owen Meany, it’s completely transparent and we are reminded of it throughout; in Wonderful, the structure is suggested in the beginning, but then plays out as a reveal in the end. I chose to straddle both worlds with subtle reminders that the story is being told by adult Trevor, while also allowing the narrative to indulge in young Trevor’s voice at times.

What do you think connects the novels you’ve written? Are there themes or topics you find yourself returning to?

My books all deal with families and characters faced with extreme circumstances. I believe when a person is pushed to his limits—or beyond those limits—his true character is revealed. So Jenna in Raven Stole the Moon, Evan in How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, Denny and Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain, and now Trevor and his family in A Sudden Light, all must dig deep to find their inner strength.

Other themes I like to explore are spirituality, redemption, faith, perseverance. I also like to play with magical realism to more or less of a degree. I firmly believe that novels are more powerful if they go beyond a simple representation of the world around us. I believe that novels should be constructed very carefully to provoke thought and emotion in the reader, so I hope that someone who reads one of my novels will ultimately look at the world a little differently.

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A Sudden Light 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of reviewing this book and it was a pleasure! This story is told by a young boy, Trevor who is fourteen. Trevor is so witty and sarcastic. You love him immediately. You get to see him soften, becoming a sweet, caring, insightful young man who suddenly has to take control of his family. The story is about family, history, ghosts just all things that make a story worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did read The Art of Racing in the Rain and was eager to read this new book by Garth Stein and wasn't disappointed. It is a beautiful story with history, family with heart wrenching twists that fit the weaving of the branches of trees. I have already recommended it to friends with Book Clubs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So many great quotes in this book, I want to re-read it again right away.  Such a great combination of mystery, comedy, with a wonderful positive vibe throughout.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic novel - I took it on vacation with me and honestly could not wait to read on the plane! A wonderful combination of family issues, secrets, ghosts and a quest for redemption. A must read - I am looking for more like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a ghost story interwoven with a strong environmental tone. I was disappointed because I feel this took away from being a true ghost story. I wouldn't recommend it to my friends.
Mirella More than 1 year ago
This book completely absorbed me and I read it two sittings. It is about a young boy named Trevor whose parents are on the verge of a divorce. He travels with his father to a centuries old timber house where his grandfather lives with his aunt. His father is there to convince the old man to sell the home as it is dilapidated and too costly to fix. What Trevor discovers are old and very painful family secrets that have been long buried, the ghost of his grandmother who dances in the ball room, ancestors who died under mysterious circumstances, and the onus to right the wrongs of the past. Reading this novel is like peeling away the layers of an onion. With each page, more insight and details are revealed about the family, both those who are still living and those who have long passed. Lots of good twists and turns and surprises kept me frantically turning the pages to find out what happens next. Although the story is dark at times, there is plenty of warm emotional scenes along the way. Heart-wrenching, poignant, joyful, and a great satisfying ending make this one book worth reading. It is certain to keep you well entertained. Garth Stein is a master storyteller! Excellently written! True enjoyment!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But I know it will be as good as racing in rain. Garth is good as good as it gets. Please Garth write faster. I love your books. Lk.Goodwin Wa.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author went too far in writing this from a teen's perspective. It is overly dramatic and lacks authenticity. The adult-child interactions are not believable and the dialogue feels forced. The family history is convoluted enough to distract from empathy for the characters. And he tried and failed to portray the effects of trauma on mental health, making a primary character out to be creepy rather than building compassion. On the plus side, the story was mysterious enough to keep me reading to the end. But much potential is wasted on cliche and irrelevant detail. I found myself rolling my eyes at how conveniently the pieces of the mystery fell into place for the adolescent protagonist.
nooklooker More than 1 year ago
I loved this story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am amazed at the emotions and conflicts this book brought out of me.
Annie-Madden More than 1 year ago
Reflecting back on the summer of 1990, Trevor Riddell tells the dark story of his family, his heritage, and his hardships in A Sudden Light. Listening to the audiobook, his emotional connection to his past really comes through when you're able to hear his story spoken aloud. Seth Numrich's voice carries you through the mysteries of Riddell House, making this spiritual book even more mystical and transcendent; his voice makes the story feel separate from space and time, like the spirits of the house Trevor comes to know. You can close your eyes and feel the otherworldly call of Stein's melodic words as Numrich guides you through the woods of the North Estate.   Everything about this book is masterfully crafted; every new detail has meaning, each new twist has more importance than the last, and each new piece of information builds up the tension until it climaxes in a perfect culmination of all that came before it. Everything is connected on a deep and meaningful level, building and adding and constructing an elaborate, deep, and profound message about life, death, promises, family, and nature. Garth Stein beautifully molds together a coming of age story, a love story, a story of family drama, spiritualism, ghosts, mental illness, and the suspense of a manipulative schemer desperate for the end game. Captivating, atmospheric, and mesmerizing, I would highly recommend this book; it's message on faith and love is something everyone should hear.
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
Good story waaaay too long.
DoranneLongPTMS More than 1 year ago
A fantastic read, as Garth Stein writes both cleverly and vividly. As the narrator, the main character, is a 14 year old boy, I think this would be a great young adult read as well. The story is set in 1990; Garth does a wonderful job in reminding us what life was like then, and how much technology has changed our world. Yes, it's a bit spooky, but a thrilling read!
nbaker1234 More than 1 year ago
Riddell House -- a promise not kept -- broken relationships -- five generations -- families unraveled -- forgiveness not asked -- pardon not given. This is my third book by Garth Stein. By far my favorite is "The Art of Racing in the Rain", but in each of his books, I find myself digging for those words of wisdom, those revelations of the human spirit that he is so adept at seductively hiding in his stories. My favorite line (and there were MANY) in the book was: All journeys begin with hope; how they resolve is another matter. This story spans five generations of the Riddell family (some generations through stories and journals only). Elijah Riddell, the senior Riddell, was a timber baron who accumulated his wealth through the destruction and exploitation of the forests in Seattle. Long gone, he leaves his legacy of wealth and land to his son Abraham, who entrusts it to his son Samuel. Grandpa Samuel has two children, daughter Serena and son Jones, and a grandson Trevor. The story takes place in the family home, Riddell House, and the house holds secrets that want to be told. So one could say this story is a mystery. Perhaps -- perhaps not. This story dabbles in the realm of paranormal activity -- a so-called ghost that dances at night -- images of those long gone who show themselves only to those who "believe". Random objects disappear only to be found later in obscure places. So one could say this story is about hauntings? Ghosts? Unhappy spirits? Maybe -- maybe not. This story delves into relationships, those between father and son, those between mother and son and the directions our lives take based on those relationships (good or bad). It sheds light on our commitment to family, what we hope to glean from our parents' parenting skills and how we choose to pass on those reflections to our own children. So is it a fictional drama? Personal growth? Could be. Then there is Trevor Riddell. At age 13, he finds himself in the midst of a family financial and marital crisis that he neither made or controls nor can he resolve. Bankruptcy filed, parents on a "temporary" separation, he follows his father back to Riddell House for a first meeting of his grandfather Samuel. There he is introduced to his aunt Serena, who at first glance appears witty, hard-working, the sole caregiver to his grandfather and a very observant, if not manipulative, person. The premise for their visit is for Jones, Trevor's father, to persuade Grandpa Samuel to sign a power of attorney so that Jones and Serena can sell the family's sprawling acreage and put money in everyone's pockets. In reality, Jones is facing issues from his own past that need to be resolved before he can put his life in order. Ironically it is his 13 year-old son who has to commandeer his Dad to see the light. In the process, Trevor must enter the world of responsibility, reverence and reality. So perhaps it is really a coming of age story? Conceivably - but not altogether true. For me this book was many things, rolled into one. I don't know that I can explain its effect on me better than the words used by the author: "With a book -- presuming it is a good book -- you can depend upon an outcome that adheres to the necessities of drama. The question will be answered. It has to be. The answer may not be happy; we can't guarantee a comedy. Sometimes tragedy strikes. But there will be a conclusion. Of that we can be sure. That's the whole point of a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know Garth Stein's writing from the Art of Racing in the Rain, so I was excited about Sudden Light's release. The book was fascinating, learning about this family's secrets through Riddell House. The writing and a childlike curiosity keeps you wanting to read it straight through to the end. I would definitely recommend it!
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
A poignant tale of a troubled family, A Sudden Light turned out to be a gripping, if slightly long-winded read. Fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell is introduced to his heritage in the form of a monstrosity of a house, a wealth of family secrets, and a ghost who is ready and able to impart even more family secrets in order to convince Trevor to help fulfill Elijah Riddell's wishes. Trevor, however, only wants his parents to fix their marriage. His decisions whether to give in to the ghost's demands will depend on the chances of it being the key to reuniting his parents.  Although this book has a captivating beginning, it soon becomes rather boring. Fortunately, about forty percent along the story got its hooks into me.  Trevor, the main character, is remarkably mature for his age. He has a sharp, witty sense of humor and an obvious desire to do the right thing. Throughout the story he is placed before incredibly difficult choices. Choices that may determine whether his parents stop or continue their divorce. That his very obviously unstable aunt Serena is flaunting her sexuality, isn't helping either. All the other characters are skillfully and realistically crafted. To say more about them, however, would put me in danger of giving spoilers.  Despite the ghosts and hauntings in this novel, it is not at all your typical scary ghost story. That Trevor isn't afraid of the ghost and sees the whole thing, first as an adventure and later as a mission, may be the reason for this. This is a touching narrative of a young boy's desire to save his parents' marriage, promises made long ago, and an old man's craving to be cared for lovingly. It is also a tale of greed, insanity, ruthlessness and the power that the very wealthy and influential have over the less fortunate as well as their own children.  Though a bit lengthy, this ultimately heartwarming book is a worthwhile and relaxing read. (Ellen Fritz)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book because I loved the book The Art of Racing in the Rain. The book is very slow moving. It isn't until the end of the book that it becomes interesting. The book drags until about three quarters into the story when it begins to pick up.. It was disappointing. If you are looking for a ghost story this is not the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are many interestiing elements: a great-uncle in love with his best friend at the turn of the century, robber barons destroying forests in the Northwest, a crazy sophisticated aunt, climbing a tree in a transformative experience and ghosts. However, the characters did not feel authentic and i had trouble suspending disbelief - not about ghosts but about the present-day characters. There is a remoteness that kept me from caring more about them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
New York Times Bestselling Author Garth Stein has mastered a winning formula. With one part closeted skeletons and two parts beauty and grandeur of the Pacific Northwest, Stein has blended these delicious ingredients and created a beautifully baked story in his latest novel, A Sudden Light. Jones Riddell is at a crossroads with his future. The stability of his marriage is questionable at best given the recent decision his wife has made to leave their Connecticut home and return to her native England (without him and their son). The recent turn of events solidifies Jones’ decision to return to his childhood home, the legendary Riddell House mansion located in the gorgeous timberlands of Seattle’s Puget Sound. Jones isn’t traveling alone, however. Alongside him is his fourteen-year-old son Trevor. It’s not easy returning to a place Jones vowed he would never see again. The memory of his father, Samuel, shipping him off to boarding school after his mother’s passing over twenty years ago, is one that is still quite real. His sister Serena has grown into an eccentric young woman. Perhaps her quirkiness stems from caring for a father who is on the brink of full-blown dementia. Trevor stands before the magnificent mansion at his father’s side. Once the family reunion is behind the weary travelers, it doesn’t take long for young Trevor to discover there is more to Riddle House than age and historical grandeur. It seems he has become the conduit to the bevy of ghosts that have chosen to communicate their messages. Their insistence on making things right once and for all soon becomes Trevor’s burden to share... Garth Stein is the real deal when it comes to placing words to paper. The life he breathes into his characters is tangible. The main character, Jones Riddle, is a man who carries the burden and complexities of facing the turmoil of a life he could have done differently had the pain of childhood memories and loss of a mother he deeply loved not shadowed his adult years. Stein creates passage upon passage of heartfelt prose that usurps the reader’s emotions and leaves the reader deeply connected with his richly developed fictitious people. His set up of the story is brilliant. He takes the reader back to a time when the complexities of emerging technology and daily doses of scandalous politics were not the governing rule. Rather, he places the reader front and center to listen to (now grown character) Trevor’s retelling of the story of legendary Riddell House. I have not had the pleasure of reading Mr. Stein’s infamous The Art of Racing in the Rain, but after reading A Sudden Light I cannot wait to do so. Stein is the quintessential master of prose and a truly gifted writer. He clearly deserves a vast audience that is undoubtedly awaiting his next great novel. Thank you Mr. Stein for this incredibly beautiful story you have written and titled: A Sudden Light. Quill says: A Sudden Light shines like a beacon and will undoubtedly; pierce the very depths of emotions in anyone who reads it.