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Day for Night: A Novel

Day for Night: A Novel


Day for Night: A Novel

ratings:
4.5/5 (11 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
May 24, 2010
ISBN:
9781400187492
Format:
Audiobook

Description

"If you look hard enough into the history of anything, you will discover things that seem to be connected but are not." So claims a character in Frederick Reiken's wonderful, surprising novel, which seems, in fact, to be determined to prove just the opposite. How else to explain the threads that link a middle-aged woman on vacation in Florida with a rock and roll singer visiting her comatose brother in Utah, where he's been transported after a motorcycle injury in Israel, where he works with a man whose long-lost mother, in a retirement community in New Jersey, recognizes him in a televised report about an Israeli-Palestinian skirmish? And that's not the half of it.



In Day for Night, critically acclaimed writer Reiken spins an unlikely and yet utterly convincing story about people lost and found. They are all refugees from their own lives or history's cruelties, yet they wind up linked to each other in compelling and unpredictable ways that will keep you guessing until the very end.
Publisher:
Released:
May 24, 2010
ISBN:
9781400187492
Format:
Audiobook

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What people think about Day for Night

4.3
11 ratings / 11 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    One of the most intriguing novels that I've read lately. Reiken gives us 10 narrators and a grand puzzle of a story that we piece together as we turn the pages. I'm glad that we're discussing this in our reading group in April, because I'll be able to read it again. Remarkable!
  • (4/5)
    My reading of this book totally did not do it justice, and this review will not either. I think one needs to read it on vacation, when it's raining, on long leisurely days when there's nothing else to do. It's very confusing otherwise: which characters you've already met, what happened to them then that explains what's happening now, and what the devil all the seemingly separate but interconnected pieces all mean when put together.Beautiful writing. If I didn't have so many books to read and so little time, I'd read it again.
  • (4/5)
    To say this is a novel of interconnected stories, doesn't do this narrative justice. Stories of depth, of shadows, good versus evil, night versus day, the holocaust and cults, manatees and coral reefs. Reiken says that it is a novel of "opposite things resolving."
  • (5/5)
    This was an extremely well-written and powerful book. It reads more like a collection of 10 connecting short stories then a novel. Each chapter deals with various people that are connected to those in other stories, though they may not know it. One woman is dealing with a boyfriend who is dying from leukemia and her older daughter has just been arrested for vandalism. Later, a story is from the perspective of the daughter and one from the boyfriend's son. Most of the characters are not connected that closely, usually much more of a peripheral relationship.The story that they are all connected to, to some degree, has to do with 500 Jewish men that were killed in 1941 Lithuania. There is also a shadowy character than runs through many of the stories, being pursued by the FBI. We never find out who she is exactly. But that is part of the charm of the book. We learn a lot about some characters and very little about others. Not everyone gets a ending. There are many layers, many emotions to this work.Some people loved this book and some did not. I was one of the one's that loved it. I found it best to read one chapter at a time and then just absorb what I had read before moving on. A lot of it will stay with you the way a good book should.my rating 5/5
  • (5/5)
    From My Blog...There are books to make the reader think and then books that make the reader want to think and Day For Night by Frederick Reiken does not disappoint the intellectual reader. Day For Night is not a light read, and despite the length of the book, Reiken has written a book to make the reader stop, pause, reflect and continue on. Day For Night shows just how interconnected we are with people we deem strangers. How a middle-aged woman, in this case Katherine, sitting in the same row on an airplane as Gwen and Tim and neither know this woman nor realise she knows Gwen's family and indeed her brother Dillon. This novel of seeming random accounts of different people are all interconnected and Day For Night continues on in this manner with shorter stories that one must pay close attention to, in order to learn just how interconnected the characters are, in this case, characters stemming from event before and during World War II. Day For Night is a book that will, if the reader allows, have a profound impact on the reader. I have a suspicion as I mature and experience more in my life that I will learn something different from this book than I have today as a 41 year-old. I am uncertain how much depth I would have found on my own when I was in college, but it would be interesting to keep track of thoughts of this book over five to ten years. Day For Night by Frederick Reiken is a complex work of literary brilliance and I would not hesitate to recommend his novel to all readers, yet I do believe one will learn more with age. I think this would be a phenomenal book to discuss with a multi-generational book group.
  • (5/5)
    Wow. Because yeah, Frederick Reiken's DAY FOR NIGHT is one of those kinda books, the kind that just leaves you speechless with awe and admiration. Spanning several decades and countries, its cast of characters continues to expand and become more complex as the story swoops and spirals from 1980s Florida, New Jersey and Utah to Nazi Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Israel, and back again, as it follows the lives of Holocaust survivors. The Weatherman underground appears periodically, in the person of a mysterious, tall woman of multiple identities, pursued over decades by a tenacious FBI agent. An evil cult abuses children, causing lasting and horrific harm. A Jewish grandfather in a New Jersey nursing home (Max Rubin, a character from Reiken's previous novel, THE LOST LEGENDS OF NEW JERSEY), marries Doris, a widow, and former resistance fighter with some dark secrets of her own. An Israeli animal specialist in the Negev desert struggles with traumatic memories and unwanted public attention. All of these and other seemingly disparate characters share connections that only become obvious as the reader moves deeper into the pages of this deeply researched and exquisitely formed novel. I was completely caught up and kept turning pages, reading deep into the night. Wow! Yeah. Reiken is simply one helluva talent, and has been recognized as just that from the publication of his first novel, THE ODD SEA, over twenty years ago. I've read all three of his books now, and will continue to follow his career with great interest. This one? Wow! My highest recommendation.- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
  • (2/5)
    This is one of the most difficult books I have read and most of it probably needs a training in philosophy. I suspect a lot of its influence was mediated through reviews and summaries. It is clear that he thinks that the proletariat has been repressed by new methods of control and that there is more hope in the lumpen-proletariat.
  • (4/5)
    This will be one of the very few times I ever use the publisher?s summary for a book. But honestly, I have no. idea. how. to summarize this book. As a child, Beverly Rabinowitz fled Europe with her mother during World War II. Almost half a century later, while vacationing in Florida with her boyfriend and his son, a chance encounter leads to a strangely lucid moment in which she senses that her father, long believed to have been killed during the war, is close by. It?s the first of many seemingly random events that in fact are guiding Beverly, and the people in her life, towards a startling discovery. Over the course of Frederick Reiken?s provocative, intricate novel, Beverly will learn that her story is part of something larger, and brilliantly surprising. Because her story is not hers alone, but also that of a comatose teenage boy in Utah, an elusive, Sixties-era fugitive, an FBI agent pursuing a twenty-year obsession, a Massachusetts veterinarian who falls in love on a kibbutz in Israel, and a host of other characters. Day for Night illuminates how disparate, far-flung people can be connected, and how the truth of those bonds can upend entire lives. Each chapter is a small universe of its own, and together they form a dazzling whole.Day for Night may be the most confounding, startling, and beautifully written books I?ve read this year. It is, without a doubt, the most confusing by far, that is for sure. I read this book a couple of months ago and I?m still confused. I was lucky enough to read it with Jen from Devourer of Books. We discussed this book for a week. I?ve read countless reviews of the book, and summaries, and, I hate to admit it, but I feel I remain mostly in the dark as to what exactly happens in this book. It is not my intention to speak in riddles, but I will suggest that it is very natural to see all of these things as a big puzzle you must assemble. I will suggest, as well, that certain pieces will not fit, not now or ever, and that you must learn to live with these ambiguities. You must also learn to trust these ambiguities. This is perhaps the most important thing I know.This quote cracks me up. Not because it is silly, it?s far from it. What makes me laugh is the part ?it is not my intention to speak in riddles? because this book is like one giant riddle to me! And I totally agree with ?certain pieces will not fit, not now or ever? because there were certain pieces that didn?t seem to fit. It?s like the author left me this secret message saying ?It?s okay, you?re not going to get it, don?t worry about it!? And I didn?t! I recognize that we are all magicians in some way. We are complicit in all we see and comprehend that what we see will never coincide with absolute reality.To me, and I have no idea if this is correct, it seems as if Reiken was trying to imitate life with this book. There are so many things in motion around us, things we have no idea about, but affect us in so many ways. That slow car in front of you on the way to work this morning may have prevented you from having a serious accident. The man you had a chance encounter with at Starbucks may turn out to be your boss someday. There are just so many things affecting your life and this book seems like an attempt to represent that. As a result, the human brain must make a narrative. This I can say with certainty, and yet each narrative we choose will reach a point at which it no longer suffices. One narrative must inevitably be abandoned for another. In this way, any narrative sequence defers meaning, even beyond the point at which it appears to end.It almost feels like Reiken took some random (and do I mean random!) things and attempted to tie them all together into a narrative. He made a narrative, like the quote says. It was random, it was connected, it was baffling ? but it was also beautifully written. This book has some of the most beautiful prose I?ve read this year. These three quotes, besides being, in my mind relevant to my interpretation of this story, are my favorites for how amazing they are. So yeah, whether I ?got it? or not, I feel like I kinda ?got it.? Hmm?that doesn?t make sense. Or does it? My best advice is read it. Read it with a friend. Read it with your book group. And be prepared to think.
  • (5/5)
    Take a woman vacationing in Florida … and her wildlife guide there … and his band’s female lead singer … and her comatose brother -- and when you first look up you'll discover you’ve followed Frederick Reiken’s tangent-filled thread nearly 100 pages into his stunning third novel. And you haven’t yet gotten to the half-dozen more terrific characters.Day for Night is a literary mystery of coincidences and connections. Its ten chapters (each nearly a short story) are told from different points of view, exploring characters' deep backstories and linking them into the larger story in progress. It calls to mind the TV series Lost and the film Crash -- the chains of events that lead people to meet and interact and discover amazing things.I liked pulling back and considering how the stories were building and how they might all be brought together. And I liked being on each page -- traveling around the USA and to Poland and Israel with characters I cared about deeply, spending time in nature and with animals, and exploring an aspect of the Holocaust that I’d not previously encountered. Highly recommended.(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)
  • (5/5)
    Take the middle section of a puzzle apart from the whole. Imagine you’ve selected ten pieces. Break them from each other so that they’re no longer connected. Then put them back together again. It seems easy enough. Curves in the side of each piece match only with their corresponding partners. Details of the picture start to form. Now turn each of those pieces into a person, and put them in a book. That is Day For Night by Frederick Reiken. Each chapter is a piece of a much larger puzzle, and only when you’ve finished the book, connected each piece to its partner, can you truly see the beauty of the whole, intricately designed work.This is Reiken’s third novel and I will confess that I’ve had his second novel, The Lost Legends of New Jersey, on my unread bookshelf for five years now. I’ve had it ever since he gave it to me in a fiction seminar course in 2005. Time flies and I never read it and then I saw his name with a new book and I thought to myself, “I should review it.” But when I received Day For Night from Hachette I became afraid. Afraid to read it in case I wouldn’t like it. Afraid I would have to tell a former professor that I didn’t like his work. How silly I was.I admired the cover first, and read the book description which summarized by saying:"Gliding effortlessly across time and space, in settings that range from Florida to New Jersey to the Caribbean and the Dead Sea, Day For Night builds toward moments of revelation, when refugees from their own lives, or from history’s cruelties, come together in unpredictable and extraordinary ways."Then I began the first chapter and thought, “I hope the rest of the book isn’t about this lady.” That might be an awful thing to think, but bear with me. The first chapter is about a woman who we later learn is named Beverly. She’s in Florida with her boyfriend (who has cancer) and his son. Through random circumstance she forms a friendship with a young boat driver who has taken them on an excursion to see manatees. I thought the book was going to turn into Beverly having an affair with the boat driver, which would have disappointed me which, in my defense, is why I thought what I did. But again, silliness.The second chapter picks up from the boat driver’s experience some time later. He’s on an airplane with Dee, the girl who sings lead in their band. She has a story as well. They all do. Every new chapter picks up a connection with the previous chapter’s characters and leads off in a new voice and a seemingly new tangent. Soon you are following Dee’s story, her traumatic childhood and comatose brother, and where her brother was before he was in a coma, and who helps him, and where they came from, and more. So much more. But the best part is that the tangents all start to come together. And it’s beautiful, and enigmatic, and ebullient, and tragic, and vastly confusing in the best ways possible.This book has people running from persecution to escape the holocaust, and people who were tortured by Nazis. It has people dying of cancer, and people finding each other after months of separation. It has old loves, and secret loves, and reunited loves. It is heartbreaking and hopeful, intriguing and suspenseful. It’s simply fabulous. And you should read it.I would say this book really kicked in for me around the third chapter, which is from Dee’s point of view. There’s something I really like about Dee, she is sensual and strong and independent, but also vastly traumatized and empty inside. Her character really spoke to me. And I think her story, along with her brother’s, was the glue holding the puzzle together. Most of the other characters somehow spun from their narrative. This is not to say that the other characters aren’t as important, because they are. Separate from Dee and her brother, they form beautiful stories in and of themselves.This book doesn’t get five stars because it’s well-written (which it is), or because the author is an old professor of mine. It gets five stars because I could barely put it down, but also wanted to read it slowly so I could enjoy it. It gets five stars because it’s incredible. It gets five stars because I will absolutely, one-hundred percent, read it again.
  • (3/5)
    This is Marcuse's most famous work and one that was a major influence on and during the student revolts all over the European continent of 1968. Many of the catchphrases of that time, such as "repressive tolerance" and the like, are derived directly from Marcuse. He has since lost much of his popularity and audience, and in my view, quite deservedly so. His main thesis is that modern man has become one-dimensional due to the totalitarian, all-encompassing exercise of power by the entrenched capitalist class. While this of itself is not such a bad idea, though certainly romanticizing and exaggerating reality, his approach to explaining and attacking it leaves very much to be desired. Marcuse overuses empty or unexplained phrases endlessly (like "cutting off perspectives through an overwhelming ossified concreteness of imagery" and similar things) while at the same time hardly making use of any prior thought or philosophy on the subject at all. This makes the impression of much ranting and little content. Even worse is his general laziness as a thinker - he never actually bothers to explain why such a full-spectrum dominance has occurred or how he wants to prove its existence, he merely asserts it and then goes on about the manifold bad effects it has. Rather bizarre in this context, and perhaps even nihilistic, is his general dislike of what he perceives as "rationality". He only uses this word in negative contexts (particularly in the context of industrial expansion) and seems to consider it the primary form of "one-dimensional thinking", affected by the symbolism of capitalism. Now it is one thing to say that the fashionable concept of rationalism is false and ill-founded, but to reject relying on rational processes altogether as he seems to do is a bit too much. To put it bluntly, everything Marcuse has written in this book has also been written in, say, Debord's "The Society of the Spectacle", and then in half as many words and quite more philosophically coherent. The early Marcuse (of Eros and Civilization) was much better; this book warrants no more interest than a purely antiquarian historical one.