The Sunlight Dialogues

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9780394471440: The Sunlight Dialogues

Madman. Prophet. Magician. Hippie. Murderer. Who is the Sunlight Man?

In The Sunlight Dialogues, John Gardner's vision of America in the turbulent 1960s embraces an unconventional cast of conventional citizens in the small rural town of Batavia, New York. Sheriff Fred Clumly is trying desperately to unravel mysteries surrounding a disorderly, nameless drifter called "The Sunlight Man," who has been jailed for painting the word "LOVE" across two lanes of traffic, and who is later suspected of murder. The men battle over morality, freedom and their opposing notions of justice, leading each to find his own state of grace. Their conflict is mirrored in the community of middlebrow politicians and their church-going wives, Native Americans, working-class immigrants, farmers, soldiers, petty thieves, and even centenarian sisters too stubborn to die. Gardner's alchemy is existential: from the most raw, vulnerable, and conflicting characters in the American melting pot, he transmutes common denominators of human isolation and longing. With unnerving suspense, his acute ear for American speech, and permeated by his deep-rooted belief in morality, this expansive, sprawling, and ambitious novel is John Gardner's masterpiece: "A superb literary achievement," noted The Boston Globe.

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About the Author:

John Gardner (1933-1982) was one of the most provocative and successful American novelists of his generation, garnering critical praise and a popular following for his fiction, including October Light, Nickel Mountain, Grendel, and The Wreckage of Agathon. His volumes of criticism, the groundbreaking Moral Fiction and his controversial The Art of Fiction, have become standard texts in university writing classes around the country. Charles Johnson is the author of Middle Passage, winner of the National Book Award for fiction. He is the Pollock Professor in Humanities at the University of Washington, and a MacArthur Fellow. In 2003 he published Turning the Wheel, a collection of essays about his experiences as an African-American Buddhist.

Review:

"An enormous circus trunk out of which the author keeps taking new literary treasures... A compassionate portrait of America in the uneasy '60s? Yes... Gardner explores everything with love and forbearance." --Time

"The Sunlight Dialogues is large and beautifully written... absorbing moment by moment and darkly troubling after it's over." --The New York Times Book Review

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Gardner, John
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