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2 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Light in the Ruins

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The Light in the Ruins Cover

ISBN13: 9780385534819
ISBN10: 0385534817
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the New York Times best-selling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge — set in war-ravaged Tuscany.

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once was their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case — a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood — Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

Review:

"Mastering matters subtle and grotesque, Bohjalian combines intricate plotting and bewitching sensuality with historical insight and a profound sense of place to create an exceptional work of suspense rooted in the tragic aberrations of war." Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"A mystery that reminds us of the harrowing choices World War II forced on so many. Beautifully structured, written with restrained intensity and suspenseful to the end, this is both a satisfying mystery and a gut-wrenching account of moral dilemma in a time of moral struggle." People, 4 Stars

Review:

"With each book, Bohjalian flexes his literary muscles, crafting a ghost story, historical fiction, and now police procedural....[Bohjalian] is skilled at evoking the sepia-tinged past." Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Dead solid perfect. Bohjalian has written another winner." Curt Schleier, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Review:

"At the heart of a good novel is a good story, and this story is a doozy. Bohjalian expertly weaves together a tale of how the war split Italy between the people who willingly collaborated with the Germans and the ones who did not....Not every author could manage to tell a war story, throw in a serial killer and drop in several interesting romances, but Bohjalian manages." St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Review:

"The Rosatis' Etruscan burial site, effectively ravaged and exploited by the Germans for its potentially priceless artifacts, becomes the metaphor for the excruciating violations unfolding across the entire continent. Similarly, Bohjalian raises questions about the nature of injustice and the, often, arbitrary codes we deploy in order to keep a firm grasp on right and wrong, good and evil, or hero and villain. The Light in the Ruins offers an engaging story that unspools in such a way as to keep the reader with her nose to the pages long after the light has actually faded." New York Journal of Books

Review:

"The Light in the Ruins elucidates, haunts and raises moral quandaries....Bohjalian's historical re-telling is riveting....A memorable read." USA Today

Review:

"Thoroughly gripping, beautiful, and astonishingly vengeful, this novel is a heartbreaker. Bohjalian's latest turn to historical fiction is immensely rewarding." Library Journal (starred review)

Review:

"A literary thriller...a soulful why-done-it." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"An exploration of post-WWII Italy doubles as a murder mystery in this well-crafted novel...an entertaining historical whodunit." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"The Light in the Ruins is a riveting re-creation of a time and place long gone, but not forgotten." Shelf Awareness

About the Author

Chris Bohjalian is the critically acclaimed author of sixteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Sandcastle Girls, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel Midwives was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages, and three of his novels have become movies (Secrets of Eden, Midwives, and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. Visit him at www.chrisbohjalian.com or on Facebook.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

techeditor, January 27, 2014 (view all comments by techeditor)
THE LIGHT IN THE RUINS is now in my list of favorites because this a can't-put-it-down book. Of the two others by Bohjalian that I've read, this one, a literary mystery/thriller, sure beats them all.

Although some reviewers say this book is two stories, it really isn't. Rather, it is one story made more mysterious by alternating chapters set during the end of World War II in Italy and chapters set in 1955. The mystery has to do with the Rosati family, and each chapter contains a few different characters' viewpoints. In this way, the mystery keeps the reader guessing. That also is what makes it unputdownable.

In 1955, someone is murdering what's left of the Rosatis. So a murder investigation is taking place while we also read about the family during 1943 and 44. The 1955 chapters include, of course, the viewpoints of not only the Rosatis but, also, the detectives investigating the crimes. With each chapter, we put more and more of the story together. Add to that the italicized pages set in the present, giving us still another viewpoint--the murderer's.

Don't read more description than that. I didn't and so discovered it for myself. You'll enjoy it more with no preconceived notions.

I won this book from Doubleday through shelfawareness.com.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
hasnul, August 23, 2013 (view all comments by hasnul)
I have rarely read novels about the 2nd World War set in Italy. (Bohjalian does recommend other titles at the novel's end.) And this novel, unfortunately is cataloged without a tracing for the war. It is listed as "mystery fiction" "murderers fiction" and "nobility Italy fiction". So, in a library after a year or so, people will not find it easily. That is a real shame because the novel is so much more than the hunt for a serial killer or a mystery. It is an investigation into the impact of the war on ordinary people be they military or civilian. There are no bystanders when the war comes to your back yard.

The Light in the Ruins stayed in my mind even after I finished it. That, to me, is the mark of a good book.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385534819
Author:
Bohjalian, Chris
Publisher:
Doubleday Books
Author:
Chris Bohjalian
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20130731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
320

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

The Light in the Ruins Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385534819 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Mastering matters subtle and grotesque, Bohjalian combines intricate plotting and bewitching sensuality with historical insight and a profound sense of place to create an exceptional work of suspense rooted in the tragic aberrations of war."
"Review" by , "A mystery that reminds us of the harrowing choices World War II forced on so many. Beautifully structured, written with restrained intensity and suspenseful to the end, this is both a satisfying mystery and a gut-wrenching account of moral dilemma in a time of moral struggle."
"Review" by , "With each book, Bohjalian flexes his literary muscles, crafting a ghost story, historical fiction, and now police procedural....[Bohjalian] is skilled at evoking the sepia-tinged past."
"Review" by , "Dead solid perfect. Bohjalian has written another winner."
"Review" by , "At the heart of a good novel is a good story, and this story is a doozy. Bohjalian expertly weaves together a tale of how the war split Italy between the people who willingly collaborated with the Germans and the ones who did not....Not every author could manage to tell a war story, throw in a serial killer and drop in several interesting romances, but Bohjalian manages."
"Review" by , "The Rosatis' Etruscan burial site, effectively ravaged and exploited by the Germans for its potentially priceless artifacts, becomes the metaphor for the excruciating violations unfolding across the entire continent. Similarly, Bohjalian raises questions about the nature of injustice and the, often, arbitrary codes we deploy in order to keep a firm grasp on right and wrong, good and evil, or hero and villain. The Light in the Ruins offers an engaging story that unspools in such a way as to keep the reader with her nose to the pages long after the light has actually faded."
"Review" by , "The Light in the Ruins elucidates, haunts and raises moral quandaries....Bohjalian's historical re-telling is riveting....A memorable read."
"Review" by , "Thoroughly gripping, beautiful, and astonishingly vengeful, this novel is a heartbreaker. Bohjalian's latest turn to historical fiction is immensely rewarding."
"Review" by , "A literary thriller...a soulful why-done-it."
"Review" by , "An exploration of post-WWII Italy doubles as a murder mystery in this well-crafted novel...an entertaining historical whodunit."
"Review" by , "The Light in the Ruins is a riveting re-creation of a time and place long gone, but not forgotten."
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