Day for Night: A Novel

Day for Night: A Novel

by Frederick Reiken

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316077576
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/27/2011
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About 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.

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.)

Customer Reviews

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Day for Night 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 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.
bookmagic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an extremely well-written and powerful book. It reads more like a collection of 10 connecting short stories then a novel. Each chapter deals with various people that are connected to those in other stories, though they may not know it. One woman is dealing with a boyfriend who is dying from leukemia and her older daughter has just been arrested for vandalism. Later, a story is from the perspective of the daughter and one from the boyfriend's son. Most of the characters are not connected that closely, usually much more of a peripheral relationship.The story that they are all connected to, to some degree, has to do with 500 Jewish men that were killed in 1941 Lithuania. There is also a shadowy character than runs through many of the stories, being pursued by the FBI. We never find out who she is exactly. But that is part of the charm of the book. We learn a lot about some characters and very little about others. Not everyone gets a ending. There are many layers, many emotions to this work.Some people loved this book and some did not. I was one of the one's that loved it. I found it best to read one chapter at a time and then just absorb what I had read before moving on. A lot of it will stay with you the way a good book should.my rating 5/5
bobbieharv on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My reading of this book totally did not do it justice, and this review will not either. I think one needs to read it on vacation, when it's raining, on long leisurely days when there's nothing else to do. It's very confusing otherwise: which characters you've already met, what happened to them then that explains what's happening now, and what the devil all the seemingly separate but interconnected pieces all mean when put together.Beautiful writing. If I didn't have so many books to read and so little time, I'd read it again.
detailmuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Take a woman vacationing in Florida ¿ and her wildlife guide there ¿ and his band¿s female lead singer ¿ and her comatose brother -- and when you first look up you'll discover you¿ve followed Frederick Reiken¿s tangent-filled thread nearly 100 pages into his stunning third novel. And you haven¿t yet gotten to the half-dozen more terrific characters.Day for Night is a literary mystery of coincidences and connections. Its ten chapters (each nearly a short story) are told from different points of view, exploring characters' deep backstories and linking them into the larger story in progress. It calls to mind the TV series Lost and the film Crash -- the chains of events that lead people to meet and interact and discover amazing things.I liked pulling back and considering how the stories were building and how they might all be brought together. And I liked being on each page -- traveling around the USA and to Poland and Israel with characters I cared about deeply, spending time in nature and with animals, and exploring an aspect of the Holocaust that I¿d not previously encountered. Highly recommended.(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)
Yllom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To say this is a novel of interconnected stories, doesn't do this narrative justice. Stories of depth, of shadows, good versus evil, night versus day, the holocaust and cults, manatees and coral reefs. Reiken says that it is a novel of "opposite things resolving."
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From My Blog...There are books to make the reader think and then books that make the reader want to think and Day For Night by Frederick Reiken does not disappoint the intellectual reader. Day For Night is not a light read, and despite the length of the book, Reiken has written a book to make the reader stop, pause, reflect and continue on. Day For Night shows just how interconnected we are with people we deem strangers. How a middle-aged woman, in this case Katherine, sitting in the same row on an airplane as Gwen and Tim and neither know this woman nor realise she knows Gwen's family and indeed her brother Dillon. This novel of seeming random accounts of different people are all interconnected and Day For Night continues on in this manner with shorter stories that one must pay close attention to, in order to learn just how interconnected the characters are, in this case, characters stemming from event before and during World War II. Day For Night is a book that will, if the reader allows, have a profound impact on the reader. I have a suspicion as I mature and experience more in my life that I will learn something different from this book than I have today as a 41 year-old. I am uncertain how much depth I would have found on my own when I was in college, but it would be interesting to keep track of thoughts of this book over five to ten years. Day For Night by Frederick Reiken is a complex work of literary brilliance and I would not hesitate to recommend his novel to all readers, yet I do believe one will learn more with age. I think this would be a phenomenal book to discuss with a multi-generational book group.
TheCrowdedLeaf on LibraryThing 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.I would say this book really kicked in for me around the third chapter, which is from Dee¿s point of view. There¿s something I really like about Dee, she is sensual and strong and independent, but also vastly traumatized and empty inside. Her character really spoke to me. And I think her story, along with her brother¿s, was the glue holding the puzzle together. Most of the other characters somehow spun from their narrative. This is not to say that the other characters aren¿t as important, because they are. Separate from Dee and her brother, they form beautiful stories in and of themselves.This book doesn¿t get five stars because it¿s well-written (which it is), or because the author is an old professor of mine. It gets five stars because
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great
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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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