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The Light Fantastic

posted by: September 8, 2016 - 7:00am

Cover art for The Light FantasticThe Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs unfolds over three climactic hours on April Donovan’s 18th birthday. It’s April 19, 2013. The Boston Marathon bombers are still on the loose, and April recalls a litany of other horrific events that have taken place in her birth month — Oklahoma City, Waco, Columbine, Virginia Tech. April suffers from a rare memory condition that leaves her able to remember events from her past in exquisite detail, to make connections that most people wouldn’t notice.

 

April’s story is just one of seven threads in this engrossing, interwoven novel. What’s happening at April’s high school in Delaware? What’s happening with her childhood friend, Lincoln, now living in Nebraska, who moved away after his father died in the attack on the Twin Towers? How are they connected to a girl in Idaho and a boy in California?

 

Each story contains echoes of the others, and these coincidences and small repetitions are part of the beauty of the novel. These people and their stories are connected because everything is connected. It may not feel like it sometimes, but we are never alone in this world.

 

For more of Combs’ fiction, check out her debut Breakfast Served Anytime. For another story with an unorthodox structure about a heavy topic, check out John Darnielle’s Wolf in White Van.

 


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Revised: September 8, 2016