Fiction. California Interest. Joseph Kylander's childhood in early 20th century San Francisco has been shaped by his widowed father's obsessive photographic project and by his headstrong cousin Karelia's fanciful storytelling and impulsive acts. The 1906 earthquake upends their eccentric routines, and they take refuge with a capricious patron and a group of artists looking to find meaning after the disaster. THE BOOK OF LOST LIGHT explores family loyalty and betrayal, Finnish folklore, the nature of time and theater, and what it takes to recover from calamity and build a new life from the ashes.
Ron Nyren's THE BOOK OF LOST LIGHT is a beautifully written novel about the early days of photography; the capturing of time; acting; love, and much else. At its center is a wonderfully complex relationship between a father and his son, which is played out before, during, and after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. The book is absolutely riveting, and its images will stay with you long after you finish reading it. I loved it.--Charles Baxter
I learned so much from this novel about the mad visions technology has always given us. In this quietly fabulous story, an early-twentieth-century photographer believes he's solving the mystery of time, while his niece and his son have their own rocky fates. It's so astute about ambition and has such a wise historical sense of the rich wreckage of San Francisco--I couldn't stop reading.--Joan Silber