Thursday, December 05, 2013


The Light in the Ruins, Chris Bohjalian, Doubleday, 2013, 309 pp

Sometimes, well actually often, I come across coincidences in my reading. This time it was a back to back occurrence. I finished Daughter of Silence published in 1961, then read The Last Man Standing, followed immediately by The Light in the Ruins. All three novels are set in the Tuscany region of Italy. The first and the third concern murders committed as revenge with a taint of vendetta and roots buried in World War II; the middle one is set in the future. It was like spending a century in Tuscany.

The Last Man Standing was the most impressive of the three. Where Daughter of Silence was overly wordy, The Light in the Ruins featured smooth, easy prose and told a better story but though I was kept guessing about who committed the murders, it was too simply written. Neither one was strong on characterization. Picky, I know. I sound like a judge on American Idol.

Thanks to a comment on my review of Daughter of Silence, I have learned that I have better books by Morris L West to look forward to. The Light in the Ruins was the first book I've read by Chris Bohjalian. At this point I would read him again if I was stuck somewhere without any books but ones written by him. Unless someone can recommend a better book by Bohjalian I am moving on.


  1. Judy, I read The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian and I thought it fantastic. You can read my review if you want and find out if it's your cup of tea. It's not a book to "enjoy" per se but it's very well written and a remarkable story.
    Funny that you reviewed this one because I took a detour trip not long ago to a B&N store and almost bought this book. I didn't, but it's in my wish list in Amazon.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation!