This anticipated debut has a dreamy back story, and effusive praise for its author from her former teacher, Jonathan Safran Foer.
TITLE: The Sunlit Night (Bloomsbury)
AUTHOR: Rebecca Dinerstein, a Brooklyn-based poet and graduate of Yale (BA) and NYU (MFA in fiction; a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow).
RELEASE DATE: 2 June 2015
THE BACK STORY: In their ‘Most anticipated debut novels of spring 2015’ list, Publishers Weekly described how Dinerstein travelled on a Yale postgrad fellowship to the Norwegian art colony of Lofoten, an archipelago in the Arctic, to write a book of poems. But the solitude and space was so inspiring, the poet began what was to become The Sunlit Night, first her MFA thesis, now her debut release.
“I grew up in Manhattan, in a really crowded environment,” Dinerstein was quoted as saying. “Suddenly I had nobody around me. That solitude and that silence − and that really inspiring beauty of the landscape − led me to figure out a way of being productive […] I realised very quickly that you can’t write poems all day.”
THE PREMISE/BLURB: In the beautiful, barren landscape of the Far North, under the ever-present midnight sun, Frances and Yasha are surprised to find refuge in each other. Their lives have been upended − Frances has fled heartbreak and claustrophobic Manhattan for an isolated artist colony; Yasha arrives from Brooklyn to fulfil his beloved father’s last wish: to be buried “at the top of the world.” They have come to learn how to be alone.
But in Lofoten, an archipelago of six tiny islands in the Norwegian Sea, ninety-five miles north of the Arctic Circle, they form a bond that fortifies them against the turmoil of their distant homes, offering solace amidst great uncertainty. With nimble and sure-footed prose, Dinerstein reveals that no matter how far we travel to claim our own territory, it is ultimately love that gives us our place in the world.
THE PRAISE: (From Dinerstein’s website)
“Lyrical as a poem, psychologically rich as a thriller, funny, dark, warm, and as knowing of place as any travel book or memoir, The Sunlit Night marks the appearance of a brave talent.” −Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
“By turns ravishing and hilarious, The Sunlit Night is more than a shining debut − it’s the work of a young master. Dinerstein writes of her two lovers with sensitivity and chutzpah: human drama, a nightless summer, the transformative power of nature. Here’s an exciting new voice that sings perfectly in key.” −Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life
“Dinerstein’s deliciously melancholy debut…is light and lyrical and her descriptions of the far north are intoxicating…A poetic premise with language to match.” −Kirkus Reviews
“Dinerstein has done readers a big favor not only by writing this luminous story about love, family, and the bewilderment of being young but also by bringing them into an otherworldly setting: a nightless Arctic summer on the spectacular Lofoten Islands. Enchanting in every way.” −Maggie Shipstead