Sunday, October 30, 2022

We Are the Light

We Are the Light by Matthew Quick
11/1/22; 256 pages
Simon& Schuster

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 off-putting.

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.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster via NetGalley.

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