We Are the Light by Matthew Quick
11/1/22; 256 pages
We Are the Light by Matthew Quick is a very highly recommended epistolary novel and one of the best novels I have read this year. It is both inspiring and heartbreaking.
Lucas Goodgame lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania, and is the
survivor of a horrific event that occurred in the town's movie
theater where 17 people died, including his wife. He sees his
deceased wife, Darcy, every night when she visits him as an angel.
Darcy's best friend, Jill, has moved into the house to help care for
him. Lucas is trying to come to terms with his trauma and the
recovery by writing letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl.
Karl's wife always died and he is no longer seeing patients.
When Eli, the eighteen-year-old brother of the shooter begins
camping out in Lucas'
yard, Lucas naturally wants to help him and the two come up with
an idea that will help Eli and the surviving family members of the
other victims heal.
The narrative of the novel is written through the letters Lucas
writes to Karl in which he honestly shares his struggles, thoughts,
feelings, and the events occurring. Lucas is a good person who deeply
cares about others even while he is grieving, so helping Eli, who is
also struggling to heal and recover after the tragic event, comes
naturally. Much later the full scope of the massacre is reveal. The
terms and methods of Jungian analysis are used throughout the
narrative in Lucas's letters to Karl. This didn't bother me, but other readers might find it
Lucas is a wonderful character who immediately garnered my full support. I cared about him as he wrote the letters to Karl and
wanted him to find the help he so needed and was looking for. Eli's
project in the novel gives him direction and helps heal Eli, but it is
clear from the start that Lucas also needed help.
The epistolary presentation of the narrative is admirably and skillfully handled. Focusing on the healing of Lucas and his care for the other survivors was a meaningful way to handle the topic of a mass shooting. The twist in the novel is an emotional, poignant, and heartbreaking revelation that will lead to a breakthrough in the healing journey of Lucas. It left me a sobbing mess. This is a memorable novel that will stay with me for a long time and one of the best novels of the year.