Just in case a sadistic psychopath isn't enough for Dave to worry about, he has to stand by as his daughter, Alafair, gets engaged to a wealthy author, Southern scion Kermit Abelard. Said scion has been keeping a-leetle-too-close quarters with a literary ex-con beloved by the reading world. Not so beloved by Dave though, who loathes the historical Abelard family values and the literary ex-con alike.
The Glass Rainbow is a highly-charged, evocative thriller packed with the author's musings on the end of life. There can be little need to describe the beauty of Burke's prose to anyone who has read any of his work, and there is no let-down or backing away in this book. In the first paragraph alone, Burke paints a word picture of misty shadows that readily conveys the book's atmosphere from the outset. When it comes to juxtaposing light and shadow, Burke is a verbal Rembrandt. The depth of his characters is revealed in every action, every line of dialogue, and the overarching theme, facing one's mortality, is handled spiritually, symbolically, and with a great tenderness. This is a story both fearsome and moving. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Instead of a single excerpt from The Glass Rainbow, I'd like to share just a few of my favorite sentences:
- "There are instances when the exigencies of your life or profession require that you ingratiate yourself with people who make you uncomfortable, not because of what they are but because you fear their approval and the possibility you are more like them than you are willing to accept. I kept believing that age would one day free me of that burden. But it never has."
- "The vagueness of the term 'homeless' is unintentionally appropriate for many of the people inside this group. We have no idea who they are, how many of them are mentally ill or just poor, or how many of them are fugitives. In the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of them were dumped on the streets or refused admission by federal hospitals. The mendicant culture they established is still with us, although our problem of conscience regarding their welfare seems to have faded."
- "To try to control the lives of other people is a form of arrogance."
- "A time comes when the loudest sound in a room, any room, is the ticking of a clock. And the problem is not the amplified nature of the sound; the problem is that the sound is slowing, each tick a little further away than the one that preceded it."
- Describing the fat cats at a fundraiser: "They were porcine and sleek and combed and brushed, and they jingled when they walked."
- And a conversation between Sheriff Helen Soileau and Dave, where the reader gets a rare glimpse of Helen's rage:
- "You know how many unsolved female homicides there are in Louisiana?"
- "That's the point. Nobody does. Not here, not anywhere. It's open season on women and girls in this country. You bring that asshole in. If he falls down and leaves blood on the vehicle, all the better. His DNA becomes a voluntary submission."
- "The dead carry a special kind of passport, and they go anywhere they want."
- "Don't let anyone tell you that age purchases you freedom from fear of death."
- "It has been my experience that most human stories are circular rather than linear. Regardless of the path we choose, we somehow end up where we commenced -- in part, I suspect, because the child who lives in us goes along for the ride."