Synopses & Reviews
Literary Nonfiction. A tale of stunningly wealthy young men searching for a moral compass in a world that seems to have gone mad, WHILE IN DARKNESS THERE IS LIGHT rivals Jon Krackauer at his best. Bryant chronicles the events leading up to the 1974 disappearance and execution of Charlie Dean, brother of the Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Although several articles have been published about the recovery of Charlie's remains in 2004, none has investigated in any depth what Charlie was doing in Southeast Asia when he was taken prisoner by the communist Pathet Lao. The author's husband, Harry Reynolds, knew Charlie and Howard in boarding school and spent six months with Charlie in Australia just before he went to Laos. Charlie and Harry were visiting three American friends who went to Australia during the Vietnam era and established an agrarian commune called Rosebud Farm. All the young men were from privileged families and full of optimism about the future until the war brought disillusionment crashing down on them. Charlie's death marks the full tragedy of that disillusionment. The research and writing are based on journals, letters, and interviews with the Rosebud farmers and with Dean family members.
A look at the lives of five young men who, during the Vietnam era, start a commune in Australia—and a look at how young men often look to the wild to find themselves and the consequences this sometimes yields. The Rosebud Farm project was born of idealism, commitment, and virtue, all deeply rooted in friendships that have transcended distance and time. The men in this story, insulated by wealth and innocent of heart, were trying to make sense of a tumultuous world and trying to find some peace in it.
One of these five young men was Charlie Dean, the brother of Howard Dean (who has written the introduction).
Louella Bryant has won numerous awards for her short stories and poems. She is the author of two young-adult historical novels—The Black Bonnet, finalist for the Vermont Book Award, and Father By Blood, winner of the Silver Bay Children’s Literature Award—and a picture book, Two Tracks in the Snow. Louella teaches creative writing in the Spalding University MFA writing program in Louisville and mentors young writers at the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf.
A book about Charles Dean, his brother Howard Dean is writing the introduction.
About the Author
Louella Bryant is the author of WHILE IN DARKNESS THERE IS LIGHT (Black Lawrence Press, 2008), which chronicles the events leading up to the death of Charlie Dean in 1974. She is also the author of the story collection Full Bloom, which won the Premier Award for Fiction. Her young adult novel The Black Bonnet was a finalist for the Vermont Book Award, and Father By Blood won the Silver Bay Children's Literature Award. Louella has been awarded numerous prizes for her short stories and poems, which have appeared in the magazines WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Hunger Mountain, The Adirondack Review, Fine Print, Vermont Life, The Teacher's Voice, Farmhouse and Mobius, and the anthologies High Horse, Tartts 2-Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers, and A Cadence of Horses. Her essays are included in the anthologies Far From Home, Lessons From Our Parents and Southern Sin as well as the magazines Atrium, Sacred Fire, and Vermont Quarterly. In addition to serving on the faculty of the Spalding University MFA in Writing Program, Louella mentors writing students at the New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf.