In Thunder and Light, Blais continues the stories of many of the characters that she introduced in These Festive Nights, but here she concentrates more on what actually happens to the characters than on what they are thinking. She also adds characters drawn from or based upon actual events recorded in news reports.
The novel begins with Carlos running with his dog Polly. Carlos is determined to get even with Lazaro, an Egyptian immigrant who used to be his friend. Carlos intends to frighten him with an unloaded gun, but as fate will have it the gun is loaded and Carlos shoots Lazaro in the knee. He becomes what Pastor Jeremy and Mama always said he would—a no-good and a criminal.
Through the characters of Lazaro and Caroline’s companion Charly, Blais addresses the problem of the ever-recurring cycle of violence in the world. Lazaro swears to have revenge for Carlos’s act. His mother unsuccessfully tells him he must forgive Carlos, otherwise all of her actions have been pointless. His mother had rebelled against the unjust religious law that permitted her Muslim husband to confine and beat her. Lazaro, however, refuses to listen and rejects his mother. He was born Muslim and male and his heritage calls for vengeance. Charly, a Jamaican descendant of slaves, voices the same desire for revenge based on heritage. Carlos’s sister Venus is also victimized by the circumstances of her birth. Venus had escaped a life of...
(The entire section is 497 words.)