Monday, July 27, 2009
Get Your Read On: Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak
A hauntingly strange and powerfully affecting debut novel that heralds the arrival of a unique and captivating literary voice, Sang Pak's Wait Until Twilight is a coming-of-age story that explores the complex darkness infecting a damaged psyche in a small Southern town.
Not long after his own mother's death, sixteen-year-old Samuel discovers a set of deformed triplets hidden behind closed doors in his sleepy Georgia community. The babies—whose shut-in mother believes they were immaculately conceived and whose menacing brother is a constant threat—take control of Samuel's every waking and sleeping thought. His only escape, he realizes, will be to save the monster children. But to do so, he must rein in his darkest impulses as he undergoes a profound transformation from motherless boy to self-defined man—because sometimes the most terrible monsters are those that live inside us all.
When I first read the description I was expecting a dark, Southern-Gothic type tale, perhaps along the same line as the short story Children of the Corn by Stephen King.
The book actually reminds me more of another King short story titled The Body.(Many of you will recall that novella was later made into a movie titled Stand By Me.)
Unlike the King story which focused on the coming of age of 4 friends, Sang Pak's novel hone's in on the loneliness and depression of one young boy on the brink of adulthood.
Sixteen year-old Samuel Polk lost his mother to cancer, and has neatly compartmentalized his life in the year since her death.
He lives with his father who although loving, is obviously dealing with his own grief, and there is a mostly absentee older brother named Jim who is away at college, and avoids the family.
It becomes obvious that this is a family that is simply going through the motions, and that no one has really come to terms with losing the mother.
Samuel is carrying around a load of guilt to boot, because he feels that he let his mother down during one of her final requests.
It is during a school project that Samuel discovers the Greenan babies-a set of triplets with profound birth-defects, whose own mother believes them to have been "immaculately conceived". What enfolds from this meeting is a sequence of events that evolves into Samuel's own soul-searching journey to salvation.
This is the first novel by Sang Pak and I found it haunting in his descriptions of the rural south and the characters were not unlike people from my own past.
For better or worse, we all grew up knowing about a family similar to the Greenans.
This story evoked memories of whispered secrets behind old ladies fans after Sunday School, and I appreciate Mr. Pak's portrait of teenage angst verging on adulthood.
This was a thoughtful, engaging book, and I look forward to more by this talented young author. A special thanks to Harper Collins for sending me this ARC. This book has a scheduled release date of August 4th
About the Author:
Sang Pak is a Georgia-raised writer with English and psychology degrees from the University of Georgia. He is currently on hiatus from New York University's graduate program in psychology. He divides his time between Georgia, southern California, and Seoul. Wait Until Twilight is his first novel
To learn more about this book and author, visit his website by clicking HERE.
Posted by Dixie at 4:21 PM