And the Dark Sacred Night

Unemployed college teacher Kit Noonan is suffering from ennui, and his frustrated wife suggests he'll remain directionless until he answers the question that's haunted him all his life: Who was his father? Like Julia Glass's four earlier novels, And the Dark Sacred Night is a multigenerational family saga; fans of her earlier works will be delighted that likable bookseller Fenno McLeod (of Three Junes and The Whole World Over) is back, playing a significant role.

Kit's mother, Daphne, has never provided a clue to his paternity, so he leaves his wife and children behind in New Jersey and begins his search with her ex-husband. Jasper, a ski slope entrepreneur in Vermont, is eager to reconnect with the stepson he's hardly seen in years. While Kit therapeutically immerses himself in Jasper's life of skis and dog sleds, Jasper shares what he knows of Kit's roots, which propels Kit to contact his biological grandmother.

Along with engaging characters, colorful East Coast locales and revelations of knotty, long-held secrets, Glass incorporates social issues relevant to Kit and his rapidly expanding family, including care of the elderly, still-raw sorrows of World War II, gay rights and the complications of unwed motherhood. Using a then-and-now construction--from Kit's parents' and grandparents' youth to the present--Glass reveals Kit's parentage early on, but the reader is still surprised by the complications his quest unearths. As familial love prevails, new relationships form, and Kit finds his place in the world. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller, Book Passage, San Francisco, Calif.

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