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
Ron Nyren’s fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Mississippi Review, Fourteen Hills, Able Muse, Dalhousie Review, 100 Word Story, and elsewhere. His stories have been shortlisted for the O. Henry Awards and the Pushcart Prize. He is the coauthor, with his spouse and writing partner Sarah Stone, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers, and a former editor of Furious Fictions: The Magazine of Short-Short Stories. Ron earned his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. He is the recipient of a major Hopwood award, the Farrar Prize in Playwriting, the Roy W. Cowden Memorial Fellowship, and the Andrea Beauchamp prize in short fiction. A former Stegner Fellow, he teaches fiction writing for Stanford University.
Harriet Scott Chessman is the author of five novels: The Beauty of Ordinary Things, The Lost Sketchbook of Edgar Degas, Someone Not Really Her Mother, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper, and Ohio Angels. Her fiction has been translated into seven languages, and featured in The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR’s All Things Considered, Good Morning America, and The Christian Science Monitor. She also created the libretto for MY LAI, a mono-opera composed by Jonathan Berger and commissioned by Kronos. She has taught literature and creative writing at Yale University, Stanford University Continuing Studies, and Bread Loaf School of English. After twelve years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Harriet lives now in Guilford, CT.
*while supplies last
Please consider purchasing a "ticket" to support RJ Julia Booksellers' virtual event series. A "choose your own price" ticket purchase of any amount greatly benefits our programming options.
Your support enables RJ Julia to continue providing engaging, informative, and entertaining events for readers of all ages.
We are so grateful for your continued support!