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Encountering Old Friends in the Dark Sacred Night

May 3, 2014 by Reader's Connection

And the Dark Sacred Night

Julia Glass’s new novel And the Dark Sacred Night expands on the lives of some characters from her first novel Three Junes. (Click here to see the different formats in which Julia Glass’s novels are available.)

People are asking: Is it okay to read the new book first? To read the books out of order?

No. It is not okay. Diagram A illustrates the life-flows of 3 characters from Three Junes to And the Dark Sacred Night, and the way that the pasts and futures of these characters flow from the second novel.

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Diagram A: Correct Life-Flows of Characters

Diagram B illustrates the consequences of reading the books out of order. Readers may emerge from the experience with TMJ and a sense of spatial displacement. Readers in the Oklahoma panhandle report involuntary keening sounds.

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Diagram B: Inappropriately Contoured Life-Flows of Characters, with Possible Clinical Effects on Readers

Another popular question: Do readers really understand these characters any better, after this second encounter? Do we feel any closer to them?

Readers will differ on this. I feel closer to Lucinda, more distanced from Malchy. Though I seem to have invented a nickname for him. I can’t find that shortened version in the books, now.

This just in from the New Jersey pine barrens: I don’t want to ruin anyone’s experience with this new book, but there’s an incident in the second half of the novel that I found implausible. It seemed to have been thrown in to pump up the book’s energy. Either that or I just didn’t want the fictional event to occur. It has altered my sense of the whole book, which I had been enjoying.

I share that feeling. I’m sitting tight with it. Does our reaction to this incident simply mean that we can’t accept life’s unpredictability, and the impulsive decisions some people make? Or did the author goof up?

There’s a hold list on this one and I have to return my copy now. Best wishes to all in the bright blessed day and the dark sacred night. (I was never crazy about the Louis Armstrong song, “What a Wonderful World,” but I always loved that line.)

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