Skip to main content

Light Of Day


Light Of Day

Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare --- the rending of
a pure love; the loss of a life that one is charged with
protecting. A life full of promise and opportunity lies fallow and
unfulfilled. But when that loss comes as a result of a suicide,
those feelings are wrapped up in an unbearable sense of failure,
and life for the surviving becomes an endless refrain of

In LIGHT OF DAY, Jamie M. Saul tells the story of Dr. Jack Owens,
an intelligent, successful professor of Film Studies at a small
Indiana college. The term is ending, and Jack is trying to wrap up
the grading of final projects so that he can escape on a
long-planned summer vacation with his son Danny. As a single
father, Jack struggles with the work-family balance known only too
well to single parents everywhere, and feels guilty that he's spent
so little time in the last week with his son, who seems like a
smart, well-adjusted teen, displaying a bit of moodiness common to
all fifteen-year-olds but otherwise smart and sharp for his age. A
few moments later, however, Jack's idyllic spring afternoon at the
office is shattered as a police detective arrives with the
heartbreaking news: Danny has killed himself.

The chapters that follow are heartbreakingly realistic and
completely riveting. As Jack spirals through layers of grief and
despair, author Jamie Saul deftly slides between his painful
day-to-day coping and flashbacks of earlier times spent with Danny
and Danny's mother, Anne, who left Jack and Danny when Danny was
four. With the help of an unexpected friend, Jack carefully begins
to unravel the spool of the life he'd built for himself and his
son, and he begins to understand the different kinds of losses and
the impact they can have on our lives.

Treating all of his characters with great respect, Saul's prose is
both muscular and polished, and his sense of timing is impeccable.
While the unblinking focus on Jack's lonely grief feels
claustrophobic at times, it's unerringly realistic, and what begins
to seem like a simple story of a man becoming unhinged by a tragedy
soon takes unexpected twists and turns as Jack begins to piece
together some answers to the questions that made up the final weeks
of Danny's life.

Saul, a journalist and television writer by trade, shows
sensitivity and a rare understanding of the human psyche in his
debut novel. As the story begins to really gather steam in the
final chapters, Saul shows remarkable restraint and grace in
revealing his ending. LIGHT OF DAY is a moving, elegant novel that
lingers with the reader long after the last page is turned.


Reviewed by Lourdes Orive on December 30, 2010

Light Of Day
by Jamie M. Saul

  • Publication Date: May 10, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0060747528
  • ISBN-13: 9780060747527