It’s inevitable, with the volume of books arriving at our house on a regular basis, that some will slip through the cracks. This is actually not a book that escaped me last year, but it was one of the ones I just never got a chance to write about. Life interfered, a week became two weeks, then four, then a few months…
One of the things Brian’s often said is that it would be interesting to go back a year or two later and re-read a book and see how much of it holds up to your initial measurement of it. WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT is the essence of a stellar debut because, all these many months after reading it, it still lingers on my brain. It still calls to me. I see deeper levels of meaning in it, and am struck by the insights Pak, as a debut author, conveyed through the story.
Samuel is 16, and coping with a deep personal loss. As he’s prompted ahead of his time to assume a level of independence he might not quite be ready for, he’s struggling to make sense of his views of the world. When, as part of a school project, he sees three deformed triplets, Samuel is repulsed by their abnormalities. The mother doesn’t seem to be all there, convinced the boys were immaculately conceived, and when she senses the ugliness within Samuel she kicks him out of the house.
Thoughts of the triplets consume him as he struggles with the things that divide us as people, instead of uniting us.
This book is not a conventional crime fiction book, but it resonates with me for a lot of reasons. One, the complexity of family, how our relationships define us, and the guilt we can carry over those relationships. Another, how our personal loathing manifests itself in our beliefs and treatment of others.
You won’t find a murder to be solved. Although there are other different crimes, there are no mysteries surrounding who commits them and why. What Pak has done with this insightful debut is crafted a story that’s brilliantly deceptive. My focus was on several other things that warranted attention, and kept me from sensing the truth lurking beneath the surface. Pak pulled the rug out from under me and gave me one of those “A-ha” moments when everything fell into place.
Saying more would give too much away. Suffice it to say the book had me in its spell from the first page, and I haven’t broken its hold yet.