Summer Light

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Ever since she found a desiccated body hanging from a tree, five-year-old Kylie Taylor sees ghosts and hears voices. Her mother May wonders whether Kylie is gifted or unstable. As the book opens, Kylie's premonition brings May and brawny Martin Cartier together in the aftermath of an aircraft near-crash. Kylie believes Martin's daughter's ghost told her about the danger and to "bring them together."

After a short courtship that shocks May with its intensity, the couple marries. As a wedding planner, May knows her hometown will be expecting her own to be spectacular, so they elope instead. An idyllic summer honeymoon at Martin's Lac Vert home promises an equally shining future. May basks in Martin's adoration and kindness. Kylie is ecstatic to finally have a father.

As in real life, reality soon intrudes. Martin has ghosts of his own which he refuses to face. Still grieving for his daughter, he blames his own father, Serge, for her death. Serge, who was a hockey superstar in his time, is now in prison for illegal gambling. Martin refuses to visit him or even to talk about him. Martin's team, the Boston Bruins, loses the Stanley Cup twice in the last game of the playoffs, with his own errors blamed for the losses. Worse, his sight is playing tricks; things often blur or black out in front of him. For an athlete who thinks even contact lenses would destroy his prowess on the rink, this threat is too dire to face. Martin avoids doctors and evades...

(The entire section is 417 words.)