Harper Academic

In Perfect Light

A Novel

by Benjamin Alire Saenz

On Sale: 11/25/2008

Price: $14.99

In Perfect Light

Enlarge Book Cover

In Perfect Light

A Novel

by Benjamin Alire Saenz

On Sale: 11/25/2008

Format:

Price: $14.99

About the Book

“Ben Saenz’s vivid imagination captures all that is beautiful, agonizing and redemptive in the crossings we make through borders of geography and culture. But it is in the interior journeys of the psyche and the soul that we must find salvation; Saenz’s brilliant prose penetrates to that core and he finds and exposes that truth. A reader can ask for no more than this: to be spellbound by a story, and to come to the last page with a sense of having been being changed and allowed to carry something of it away.” —Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country

From award-winning poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz comes a haunting novel depicting the cruelties of cultural displacement and the resilience of those who are left in its aftermath.

In Perfect Light is the story of two strong-willed people who are forever altered by a single tragedy. After Andés Segovia's parents are killed in a car accident when he is still a young boy, his older brother decides to steal the family away to Juárez, Mexico. That decision, made with the best intentions, sets into motion the unraveling of an American family.

Years later, his family destroyed, Andés is left to make sense of the chaos—but he is ill-equipped to make sense of his life. He begins a dark journey toward self-destruction, his talent and brilliance brought down by the weight of a burden too frightening and maddening to bear alone. The manifestation of this frustration is a singular rage that finds an outlet in a dark and seedy El Paso bar—leading him improbably to Grace Delgado.

Recently confronted with her own sense of isolation and mortality, Grace is an unlikely angel, a therapist who agrees to treat Andés after he is arrested in the United States. The two are suspicious of each other, yet they slowly arrive at a tentative working relationship that allows each of them to examine his and her own fragile and damaged past. 

With the urgent, unflinching vision of a true storyteller and the precise, arresting language of a poet, Sáenz's In Perfect Light bears witness to the cruelty of circumstance and, more than offering escape, the novel offers the possibility of salvation.

Critical Praise

“A vivid story about a community of scarred, deeply human souls within a callous, indifferent America.” - Kirkus Reviews

“His characters provide rich fodder for Seanz’s unique ability to look deeply into his characters’ past to see what motivates them in the present and which of their memories are impossible to shed. A former priest and award-winning poet thoughtfully shares his meditations on multiculturalism and familial love—especially the struggle to survive its loss.” - Booklist

“Ben Saenz’s vivid imagination captures all that is beautiful, agonizing and redemptive in the crossings we make through borders of geography and culture. But it is in the interior journeys of the psyche and the soul that we must find salvation; Saenz’s brilliant prose penetrates to that core and he finds and exposes that truth. A reader can ask for no more than this: to be spellbound by a story, and to come to the last page with a sense of having been being changed and allowed to carry something of it away.” - Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country and The Tennis Partner

“Only Benjamin Alire Sáenz. . . can capture, with his acrobatic skill of voice, character and theme, the darkness, the hidden life of betrayal, and the nascent, eternal, always hopeful redemption to be found in the heat and dust of our misunderstood land.” - Denise Chávez, American Book Award-winning author of Face of an Angel and Loving Pedro Infante

“Saenz offers beautifully nuanced characterization, and interweaves disparate needs and lives with a skillful, sensitive touch.” - Publishers Weekly

“Set in El Paso, Texas, Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s novel In Perfect Light is suffused with the desiccating heat and dusty brilliance of a Southwestern border town—a landscape that seems perfectly suited to his cast of burned- out, emotionally withdrawn characters.” - San Francisco Chronicle

“[Sáenz] takes [his characters’] lives and twists them, turns them, throws wrenches and sharp corners in them. He’s merciless about making these people real and about making them go through things we all go through— anger, unfairness, love, and death.” - Albuquerque Journal

“Saenz captures what we all do every day, really, to find peace for ourselves.” - Philadelphia Inquirer

“Dignified but heart-wrenching . . . Sáenz has plotted In Perfect Light impeccably.” - Texas Monthly

“Sáenz’s luminous prose shines through.” - Houston Chronicle

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780060779214
  • ISBN 10: 0060779217
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 11/25/2008
  • Trimsize: 5.300 in (w) x 8.000 in (h) x 0.700 in (d)
  • Pages: 352
  • List Price: $14.99
  • BISAC1 : FICTION / Hispanic & Latino
  • BISAC2 : FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC3 : FICTION / Family Life