I have to start this review by telling you straight off that this is not going to be a review in the style in which I normally write. In fact, it's probably not much of a review at all. I have thoughts, and I'm going to share those thoughts with you.
Day for Night by Frederick Reiken is a series of stories. It is not a series of short stories or a series of interconnected stories—at least not really. It is a series of personal snapshots, each told by a different person. Characters in those stories may or may not appear in more than one story. Some people appear many times. Somehow, the core characters are tied together in the end—sort of.
Now I've scared you off, but you shouldn't be. Some descriptions of Day for Night say it's a novel about how people's lives are unwittingly interconnected. I've read that it is a kind of a fictional rendition of the game Six Degrees of Separation. Some reviewers have said it's a Holocaust novel. Others say it's about good and evil. But I don't agree.
You may call the intertwining of the characters in Day for Night coincidence, but I think it's more. It has to do with the Diaspora—ancient and recent. It concerns the idea that no one knows where all those people ended up and what they did to find comfort. It has to with individuals who have been pushed off of (or is it on to?) their intended paths by hate or by extremism or by extreme circumstances.
At the same time, the novel recalls an idea associated with reincarnation: that no matter what form your spirit takes in a particular life—male/female, rich/poor, Jewish/Christian, Western/Eastern—you are always surrounded by the people you have been close to throughout all your lives. These are people with whom you've shared an intensity, with whom you've instantly bonded, with whom you've experienced important moments.
Day for Night is somehow about all of this—of people who died or were killed in war, of people who have been scattered across the globe, of people whose spirits are woven together through time and space, of the thirty-six righteous men, of the nonlinear nature of reality.
I am not sure how to describe what I think about the novel. While I was reading it, I felt indifferent, engrossed, a bit bored, and then came round to what I wrote here. It is a book worth reading and thinking about. It is a novel that may seem profound to some, yet shallow to others. Reiken addresses such an immense concept, that I'm not quite sure I have drawn it all in or articulated it well.
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Published by Reagan Arthur Books, 2010
Challenges: New Author, Reagan Arthur Books, 100+
Source: Review (see review policy)