Reading in L.A. review of Radiance by Louis B. Jones

Every word of this short novel is relevant. Brilliant, actually.” ~ Reading in LA


“The tension between Mark and Blythe’s undeniable attraction, (compounded by the increasing distance he feels from his aggrieved wife) and the necessity of maintaining narrative equilibrium, makes for some thoroughly good writing. But I think the most interesting part of Mark’s weekend-long journey is his rapidly evolving understanding of his daughter. Jones depicts the perfectly torturous blend of terror, wonder, pride and agony that befalls the father of a teenage girl.
In fact, Carlotta may be the only person whose feelings Mark can feel, as opposed to assume; the only person to whom he extends a free pass for complexity and true humanity, while still endlessly writing her character.
He really believed that her present drama of grief, over the deleted little brother, was a cover-up for her worse dread. Teenagers’ dread is their discovery of personal irremediable defects and second-rateness. In high school you present yourself to the marketplace. You hadn’t been aware there was a marketplace. That’s the terrible open floor. You enter through the main entrance. You’re suddenly out on that floor. On schoolday mornings he would drop her off on the curb and he could see it descend upon her, at the moment of her climbing to set foot in those corridors, he could it it in the set of her shoulders: her irremediable defects and second-rateness.”
Over the weekend, as Mark gets pulled toward Blythe, and Carlotta is pulled toward her own opposite in the paraplegic hottie, Mark can’t help, under the glare of big city lights, but start to see his daughter out of context, and to meditate on her emerging powers.

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