The Sunlight Dialogues by John Gardner

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Madman. Prophet. Magician. Hippie. Murderer. Who is the Sunlight Man?

In The Sunlight Dialogues, John Gardner's vision of America in the turbulent 1960s embraces an unconventional cast of conventional citizens in the small rural town of Batavia, New York. Sheriff Fred Clumly is trying desperately to unravel mysteries surrounding a disorderly, nameless drifter called "The Sunlight Man," who has been jailed for painting the word "LOVE" across two lanes of traffic, and who is later suspected of murder. The men battle over morality, freedom and their opposing notions of justice, leading each to find his own state of grace. Their conflict is mirrored in the community of middlebrow politicians and their church-going wives, Native Americans, working-class immigrants, farmers, soldiers, petty thieves, and even centenarian sisters too stubborn to die. Gardner's alchemy is existential: from the most raw, vulnerable, and conflicting characters in the American melting pot, he transmutes common denominators of human isolation and longing. With unnerving suspense, his acute ear for American speech, and permeated by his deep-rooted belief in morality, this expansive, sprawling, and ambitious novel is John Gardner's masterpiece: "A superb literary achievement," noted The Boston Globe.

About John Gardner

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John Gardner (1933-1982) was a major figure of 20th century letters. He is the author of a number of acclaimed novels including: The Sunlight Dialogues, October Light, and Grendel. He was also the author of several seminal works of non-fiction including The Art of Fiction and On Moral Fiction as well as volumes of poetry, and translations. Charles Johnson is Pollock Chair in Humanities at the University of Washington. One of the most admired American writers of recent decades, he is the author of four novels (including Middle Passage, which won the National Book Award), numerous short stories, and more than twenty screenplays.
Published January 1, 1913 by The New York Public Library. 320 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

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The prophet pursues Clumly relentlessly, while performing magic, directing murders through his Calaban, a sullen young Indian, punishing the Hodges, and talking, talking, talking of illusions, justice (and its opposite, law), of gods and men, of marriage and madness.

Mar 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Sunlight Dialogues

Fiction Writers Review

When I told a novelist friend of mine—this would have been in the early 1980s, when after having been fired from a teaching job at Bennington College after nearly a decade of teaching there (not for any cause except that I had come there as a “critic” and had after a short while made the writers ...

Mar 10 2009 | Read Full Review of The Sunlight Dialogues

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