Black Light

3.65 avg rating
( 409 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780061052668: Black Light

Evocative dark/gothic American mystery novel from the author of Glimmering and Waking the Moon.

A creepy, fantastic mystery centred around the strange life of Axel Kern – an enigmatic, charismatic cult director with a particular taste for the peculiar – and four teenagers on the cusp of adulthood: Lit Moylan, Ali Fox and the Finn brothers.

Black Light is a brilliant, literate blending of genres: age of innocence tale, contemporary fantasy and murder mystery set against a wonderfully realised backdrop of second-rate acting dynasties in the old colonial town of Kamensic, USA.

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Review:

Growing up means discovering that the world is different than one supposed; Charlotte, Lit to her friends, the central character of Black Light, experiences magic and other betrayals, but the unreliability of her parents and her world is more fundamental than that. Lit is a typical adolescent at the point where the hippy-dippy 60s started to turn to the punk 70s,growing up in a very untypical place--a haunted artists' colony with its own rituals and traditions, set in a landscape of vivid beauty and dark memories where natural forces loom threateningly in bestial shapes:

That I could be so insignificant, that it was possible for me to move through the world and have my presence as unremarked as that of a spider spinning its web in the tall grass. And like the spider I could be casually destroyed, my passing neither mourned nor noticed by this monstrous being. An arms-length away from me the horned man dipped his head closer toward the water's surface, as though he would drink there...

Lit and her friends find themselves caught up in the workings of Axel Kern, supposedly just an experimental director in the tradition of Warhol or Kenneth Anger, but actually, like Anger, aspiring to be something altogether more sinister. Nor are the forces of official good--the mystic brotherhood known as the Benandanti, whom we already know from Hand's earlier, award-winning Waking the Moon--significantly less sinister. This is a powerful evocation of the uncanny and the hard work of surviving it, with a young heroine strongly individualised while convincingly typical of her time and place. --Roz Kaveney

Review:

‘A potent socio-erotic story for our looming Millennium… Hand’s high-resolution narrative never falters’
WILLIAM GIBSON

‘Ms Hand is a superior stylist’
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

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