Closer to the Sun

Peter Gadol, Author Picador USA $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-14084-7
Neither powerful extremes of nature nor profound personal tragedies can quash the innate human urge to build and rebuild in this resonant tale of three troubled friends starting over in a fire-scarred Southern California canyon. Narrator Brad Gray has been wandering since the AIDS-related death of his lover, drifting into a career as a professional house-sitter. He has made his way coast-to-coast from Manhattan to a luxurious hilltop villa outside L.A. Through a telescope by the swimming pool, he closely follows the progress of a young couple struggling to build a house in the adjacent, burnt-out canyon. Soon, the solitary Brad is drawn into the project and into the lives of Helen and Ethan Zayne who, having lost their child and their home, are taking extreme measures to rebuild their life together. Gadol (The Mystery Roast, Coyote) infuses new vigor into traditional metaphors of carpentry and construction and vividly evokes both the emotional landscape and the grand sweep of his fictional Encantado Canyon. Only once does he go overboard with his symbolism (in an unconvincing account of fighting wildfires). At all other times, this thoughtful, softspoken narrative grips the reader with each new challenge confronting its characters. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-312-15495-0
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