The Sight of the Stars

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In The Sight of the Stars, Adam Arnring grows up in a small town in New Jersey with his father who owns a small grocery, his step-mother, a brother that the family is determined to send to college, another brother who is always angry, and a sweet family dog. Adam discovers he was born a “bastard,” and haunted by the idea that he is worth less than other men, but determined to make something of himself, he leaves home to find his fortune. He lands in a small town in Texas, where he talks his way into a job at a clothing store, helping the widow owner to revamp her neglected store, and, within weeks, to build it into an exciting and successful venture. He falls for her adopted niece, and over the next few years, sees the store and the romance develop prosperously.

As Adam grows older, he handles many challenges: a sister-in-law who becomes a successful fashion designer for his store and then finds her way into his personal life, a crooked accountant friend who almost sabotages Adam’s dreams, and the angry brother who holds a secret and could ruin Adam at any time. But Adam fights on, raises several children, grows the store into a glorious success, and gives money to schools, parks, and charities. And throughout his life, he is selflessly concerned with the happiness of others.

The narrative is loosely styled, with some confusing shifts in person, voice, and perspective. The epic story seems too large for a short novel, so characters and incidents are often not fully drawn, and one is left wanting to know more. Also, as a short novel, problems are sometimes solved too easily. The story does include continual references to world events that sometimes influence the characters’ lives. It is an easy read, and one does feel satisfied to have shared a life, if not deeply, but a life that was full and meaningful.