cover image Take One Candle Light a Room

Take One Candle Light a Room

Susan Straight, Pantheon, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 9780307379146

Straight's (A Million Nightingales) newest heroine, FX Antoine, keeps a distance from her family, her past, and even her present. Her one tie to home is her godson Victor, the child of her murdered best friend, whose involvement in a shooting sends him careening off the college path and potentially straight into a life of crime. He flees to Louisiana, where FX grew up, and is followed by her and her father, who wrestles with family secrets of his own. Their pursuit of Victor is marred by complications, not the least of which is the looming Hurricane Katrina, putting them all at risk. Straight again places readers in a rich and alien culture, a mélange of misfits and outlaws. FX is a detached protagonist, resisting her own family and culture, and readers will share her outsider's viewpoint. Straight's love of language is embedded in every page, though often at the expense of plot, and parts of the puzzle remain obscure in an otherwise rich and absorbing story. (Oct.)