I had the good fortune to work with novelist Frederick Reiken during my final semester in the Warren Wilson MFA program one year ago. Rick’s third novel, “Day for Night,” is just out, and I think anyone who reads it will see why I’m grateful to have been his student. With ten narrators who tell surprisingly intersecting stories–each can be traced to a mysterious event in Lithuania during World War II–the novel is dazzling on a large scale. But it is also beautifully subtle, built upon the kinds of seemingly small, clear insights that take years of reflection to achieve as a writer, and an instant to appreciate as a reader.
I hadn’t read any of Rick’s novels when I began my semester under his supervision, but I knew at once from the clarity of his thought on writing that I should listen closely to his every word. (Listen to this interview with Rick on NPR and you’ll understand just what I mean.) Judging from early reviews and reader response, “Day for Night” is finding a wide following, but gratitude and admiration compel me to add my small voice. It’s an astonishing book. Read it and you’ll be glad.
Here are excerpts from reviews:
“Brilliant plotting, haunting characters, and an elegiac tone distinguish this dazzling novel…Contemporary fiction at its best – accessible, breathtaking, and heartbreaking.”
– Kirkus (starred review)
“It’s an entrancing and profoundly complicated tale Reiken tells as he slowly reveals the submerged connections among his intriguing characters while sustaining psychological sophistication, suspense, shrewd humor, and many-tiered compassion. Reiken’s novel of miraculous survival and discovery embraces the earth’s splendor, humankind’s capacity for good and evil, and the fact that we are all linked and that much is concealed within our oceanic psyches.”
– Booklist (starred review)
Here is Rick’s website.