Monday, May 25, 2015
Book Review : ‘The Sunlit Night ' by Rebecca Dinerstein
It starts off with a story of 21 year old Frances, who comes from an almost broken family. Her father and mother want to go their separate ways, and her younger sister who is looking to get married to her non-Jewish fiancé, also looks at moving away.
Frances, who is back after breaking up with her boyfriend, due to the fact that she had a pregnancy scare, and also, because he does not care for what she does. He believes that her job has no purpose and will not help anyone whereas he is looking at a future in politics. She is back in New York from where she grabs a painting apprenticeship and moves to Norway.
The second part of this story is 17 year old, Yasha. In his final year at high school in Brooklyn after moving there from Russia almost 10 years ago, Yasha and his father run the local bakery. This they do, while they wait for his mother, Olyana to join them. But she never does all this time, but instead finally comes to his school, to find Yasha.
She tells Yasha that she has been in New York for three months and is looking for a divorce from her husband, so she can marry her boyfriend. She gives the divorce papers to Yasha, but he tries to delay it, telling her of his father’s weak heart.
In the meanwhile, Yasha’s father, Vassily buys tickets to Russia to look for Olyana. When they do arrive, Vassily is in for a rude shock, as the divorce papers are handed to him by his brother. His father then dies of a broken heart, and it falls upon Yasha to bury his father on top of the world. This was Vassily’s last wish.
The place where the two, Frances and Yasha are to meet and carry the story forward is Norway. This was where the beauty of the story begins. Frances is at the place of the stand-alone art installation, 'The Yellow Room', where she would begin the art work.
The beauty of 'The Sunlit Night' by author, Rebecca Dinerstein lie here. In the yellow room and the place where she begins to discover, true exquisiteness, thanks to its isolation from the rest of the world are two things, which are wonderfully described and would touch your heart. In this place, is where she meets Yasha.
The love story begins to unfold here, and it is here where you notice what the parents of both sides realty want. Even the four-year gap between them, seems significant when it funnily is at 17 and 21.
One, in the swarming New York city and the other in the vast, almost empty spaces of Norway. One is struck by the contrast, which the author draws for us. Of the midnight sun and of the tastes of all that is baked in Yasha’s bakery are two points, which stayed on in my memory. Her descriptions of the Arctic are almost psychedelic and one wishes to travel far north too. Dream of the colour yellow too…