Children of Light Themes
by Robert Stone

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Social Concerns / Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Moving his settings from New Orleans, Vietnam, Los Angeles, and Central America, Stone relocates to the coast of Mexico to continue his exploration of contemporary society in Children of Light. Considered an artistic departure for Stone, the novel replaces the eccentric, menacing characters of his earlier work with the inhabitants of present-day Hollywood. The "children of light" are the self-illuminating, talented people so often consumed by the fantasy world of illusion.

The novel focuses on the protagonist Gordon Walker. Recently deserted by his second wife, Walker decides to visit the location shooting of a film based on his screenplay and starring his ex-lover Lee Verger, the stage name for Lu Anne Bourgeois. Once again, Stone produces fragile and nearly broken characters precariously dangling before an emotional abyss, desperately seeking reconciliation with the modern world and a renewed sense of purpose in life. Unfortunately, the destructive lives of his characters are beyond repair, and salvation if at all possible is momentary and fleeting.

At first glance, Children of Light does not reflect the harsh reality and violence so commonplace in Stone's fiction. Seemingly quieted by the serene locale, his characters appear less terrifying than previous prototypes; however, as the novel unfolds, an unnatural and unconscionable evil surfaces to take hold of the action and characters in the form of manipulation, degradation, and insanity.