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The novel spoke to me this reading far more than the previous one. But most importantly, I was struck by the painstakingly careful construction. As a writer myself, I marvel at the ability to mix first person viewpoint with third person, present tense with past tense. Saenz does this so beautifully that the reader is not jarred one bit by the changes but rather embraces the changes and internalizes their importance. That is great writing! The narrative that drives In Perfect Light is that of Andres Segovia named for the famous guitarist, who is thrust into hell at a young age.

It is as if Andres plunges into a deep dark hole, and the rest of the novel shows his attempts to climb out. Saenz uses both physical light and spiritual light to extreme advantage throughout the novel. Spirituality pervades the story as not only Andres but other characters as well work to find the light in their lives. We root for her to stay that way in the sordid world in which these kids are placed. As we marvel at the lovely words and how they are knit together, we become deeply involved with these characters, hoping they will all triumph in the end.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

But this is life, so bumps and disappointments abound before we reach a conclusion. In Perfect Light is literature at its finest, and multi-award winning author Saenz definitely knows how to spin a yarn while uplifting us with his beautifully wrought prose. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. He's an absolutely magnificent storyteller. A beautifully written story.

Saenz writes with a powerful pen. His characters are woven together in complex and interrelated ways. Is there any description to say it is beyond literary? One person found this helpful. I wanted more when I was done. This novel is incredible. Well crafted, I could not stop reading, did not want it to end, did not want to return it to the library. The light is what heals, redeems, allows us to return to wholeness.

Andres spends his 26 years feeling like someone's dirty secret. By telling his story to Grace, the truth is revealed, the shame begins to fall away. Grace also begins to see herself as she truly is, somone who has helped and touched others, someone who is wife and mother but also she finds peace in being just her own self. He's not suicidal, but living for him means getting through the day, pushing everyone away. The book also tells the stories of three main supporting characters, Dave Duncan, who is Andres's lawyer and guardian angel, Grace Delgado, a therapist who has helped Dave before, and now is recruited to help Andres, and Mister Delgado, Grace's son who, despite not having any direct contact with Andres, plays a pivotal role in helping the story reach its end.

In Perfect Light is, despite its name, far from perfect. There are short chapters, interludes, that are told in the present tense, that show a glimpse of all four main characters at that very same moment. These interludes take getting used to, and they distract readers well, me at least from the story. There are parts where we jump into one character's head for a short dialog-paragraph when the section is told in another's perspective. There are long-winded sentences that have no punctuation marks. There are conversations in Mexican that are not translated into English and at times can alienate readers who do not understand the language.

The prose itself, when compared to the elegance that is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe , feels clumsy.

The beat, the lyrical arrangement, the signature storytelling are all there, but less refined. Perhaps this book was written this way for an adult audience, and the other was made more minimalist for its target young adult audience. The magic that Mr Saenz offers in his works is still there, just not as brilliant as I expect of him. That said, the story itself makes up for more than the clunky prose.

There is pain in this book, pain that transcends written words, transcends fiction. Andres's pain, his past and his present, it feels real.


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Andres is not a character out of a book, but a young man who has been through so much hurt, it's a miracle he's still a whole person. Andres's character and past are similar to Zach's in Last Night I Sang to the Monster , and like other main characters in Mr Saenz's other books, has an affinity toward poetry and the beauty of the desert. Despite his harsh upbringing, Andres has an unquenchable thirst for books and learning, and this thirst makes him stand out, and saves his life.

All four main characters in this book are fully fleshed out, and feel absolutely real, but it is Andres that pulls us in. It is his past that brings us to tears, and it is his pain that makes us want to reach out to him. Even though it has been several days since I finished reading the book, I still think about Andres. I want to buy him lunch and just hang out with him. I want to show him that I'm there for him, whenever he's ready to reach out to others.

I want to sit beside him as he leans back against the wall, a lit cigarette in one hand, and a crumpled piece of paper with a poem he's written in the other. I want to hug him and tell him that everything will be all right. I don't know if anything will be, but I want to tell him that. I wish I were half as good a writer as Mr Saenz is. I wish I can have that effect on others, that they want to hang out with the characters in my stories, that they want to hug them and tell them that everything will be all right.

For me, this book is not about the technique or the poetry in the prose or the storytelling. I can talk about the plot, but I want you to experience it yourself. This book is about evoking a raw urge to protect children from the ugliness in the world, and if that is too late, help them see the beauty the world still has to offer. It's about realizing the depth of a person's resilience, and the strength of one's spirit.

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It's about Andres Segovia, who, despite being a fictional character, feels so real that I hope one day he'll read this, and know that there is still beauty in the world. There are still things that can be seen in perfect light. To all the Andres Segovias out there, I don't know how, I don't know when, but things will be all right. Why are your words always so painful and beautiful at the same time? Aug 05, Taylor rated it really liked it. I really liked the tragedy because sadness consumes us all. May 27, Isis rated it it was amazing Shelves: I cried sad tears.

I cried happy tears. I swear, one day, Benjamin Alire Saenz will be the death of me. Going into this, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Benjamin Alire Saenz is my favorite author. I've read most of his novels, short stories, and poetry. I keep coming back to his writing looking for heartfelt stories with realistic characters going through real-life issues, and he always delivers.

Another important factor about his stories is that they always revolve around Mexican-American I cried sad tears. Another important factor about his stories is that they always revolve around Mexican-American people, and that is incredibly significant to me, as a Mexican woman.

These are the last novels I'd read by him, and I figured maybe I wouldn't be able to connect with his older works as much as I have with his newer ones, such as Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. In Perfect Light is one of the most beautiful, carefully crafted works of fiction I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This story is painful, so painful, but so worth the pain.

I've noticed this trend in Saenz's novels, that of sorrowful journeys leading to a hopeful, brighter ending, and that is just what this one offered. I love these type of stories the most. They don't expect anything. I live in a world that doesn't expect anything of me because it's already decided I don't matter. The former is a young man who keeps getting into trouble with the law, and who carries the weight of a terrible past on his shoulders. And the latter is a woman who struggles to show her affection to her son, and debates on the right choice to make regarding her new circumstances.

Both of these characters come together through counseling, and we learn about both of their heartache. I wasn't kidding when I said I cried.

At one point, this book seriously took my breath away. Everything that happened took me by surprise, and it felt like it was happening to real people I cared about. I wanted to reach into the pages and make things better for everyone. I couldn't believe how much Saenz managed to hurt these poor characters, but it never got to be that bad. I usually hate sad books, but this wasn't just another sad story.

In Perfect Light

The hardships shown were not in vain, they were there for a reason, and the conclusion was worth getting to. He remembered the boy who used to count stars. I think everyone could take something from this novel. I talked about this book in my Hispanic Heritage Reads wrap-up video.

This was not an easy book to read for me and part of the reason I just sat down and finished it off was because prolonging it was making me "dread" the reading experience. I kept thinking, "oh no! Sad things are going to happen! And still I gave it five stars because this is a beautifully wri I talked about this book in my Hispanic Heritage Reads wrap-up video. And still I gave it five stars because this is a beautifully written story. There are multiple threads here but the story centers around Andres Segovia, a man struggling so much with his rage that he lashes out twice in the beginning chapters of the story.

The story tells us in bits and pieces why Andy carries around that rage and and what has happened in his life, starting with the death of both his parents when he was just 10 years old. It never got easier for Andres from that moment. Never got easier than being orphaned. We hear the bits of his story as he relives them or tells them to his lawyer Dave who we learn is more connected to Andres than we realize at first and his therapist Grace who is a widow and dealing with a new diagnosis.

We also meet Grace's son, Mister, who is trying to adopt a little boy who happens to be blind. I don't know if I've mentioned yet but it's a devastating story. The prose, though, was fluid and effortless and lyrical, but in an understated way. It isn't that Alire Saenz is particularly flowery, but just that his words seem like they all fit perfectly. His words flow and speak so much truth into this devastating story. Anything more sensational or less thoughtful or less grounded in human experiences would've come off as tragedy porn. This was devastating have I said that yet?

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I love, love the way the prose was set-up. We followed around the four characters and got their points of view, but every once in a while, there was this piece of omniscient text that placed everyone within a stretch of time. Something like, as Andy left the bar, Grace was with her Doctor and Mister was kissing his wife and Dave was in the courtroom. It just gave you such a sense of the whole story with all of its moving parts. It was a lovely way to tie everything together and anchor it down in specific times.

This book definitely explores some difficult topics including sexual assault, child molestation, child abuse, terminal illness and drug abuse.

La Bloga: Review: In Perfect Light. Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

I would proceed with caution if need be. Jun 23, Fiona rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really don't quite know how to articulate what beautiful a story this is. It's been a long time since a book has had such an emotional impact on me. So I thought I'd at least try to type some words about this wonderful, wonderful book. It is also, for me at least, very much a story about hope, about moving towards the light or, to use a Sam word, being phototactic.

How can a book show the worst of humanity I mean feature the absolute worst!!! And one last thing, just because it needs to be said. Read new romance book reviews, posts from your favorite authors, samples, exciting digital first publications and e-book specials. Visit the official Harlequin book site. See the newest novels, discuss with other book lovers, buy romance books online. Thanks for signing up! We've emailed you instructions for claiming your free e-book.

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