By Alan Lightman
Vintage, Paperback, 9780375713446, 240pp.
Publication Date: November 9, 2004
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Charles, a once-promising poet, is a professor at a minor liberal arts college, admiring of passion but without passion himself. Now living a desperately comfortable existence, he decides to return to his thirtieth college reunion. While there, he relives an intense love affair he had with a beautiful ballerina that forever changed his life. At times shocked, admiring, and furious with his younger self, Charles remembers contradictory versions of events, until reality and identity dissolve into a haze of illusion. Reunion explores the pain of self-examination, the clay-like nature of memory, and the fatal power of first love.
“Elegant . . . spare, economical and charged with meaning .” --The New York Times Book Review
"One of a handful of writers in America capable of injecting the necessary quietude into his prose. . . . Reunion is that rare thing in this age: a genuine work of art." --Denver Post
“A skillful exercise in the evocation of memory and loss. . . . Lightman’s delicate prose turns [Reunion] into a fascinating study.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Marvelously written. . . . A worthy addition to Lightman's work.” --Rocky Mountain News
"Lightman's prose leaps and twirls, circles his subjects and raises them up. If Degas or Manet had written prose it would read like this. . . . Reunion is that rare thing in this age: a genuine work of art." --Denver Post
“A skillful exercise in the evocation of memory and loss. . . . Lightman’s delicate prose turns [Reunion] into a fascinating study.” --The Washington Post Book World
“Reunion seeks . . . to plumb life's most complicated and enduring relationship: that between who one was and who one is. . . . Reunion most powerfully explores the seductions and betrayals of young love.” --The New York Times
“Undeniably affecting. . . . Memorably lovely. . . . Lightman’s lyrical meditation on aging and nostalgia [will] hit home for just about any reader.” --San Francisco Chronicle
“Haunting. . . . He has a Proustian concern for manipulations of time and memory . . . [a] melancholy grasp of the sovereign ineluctability of time, that ‘hour of eternity.’ . . . Such a rueful consciousness is a pleasure to witness.” --Boston Globe
"A profoundly human story, rich in depth and nuance. . . . Lightman writes with a lightness, a lyrical understatedness that belies the underlying depths and complexities of the novel. . . . Reunion is the work of a great writer." --The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Prose both luminous and precise. . . . The images of lightness and beauty and grace, of complexity and obsession that Lightman conjures through Charles’ vision of his lover make us participate in Charles’ yearning.” --The San Diego Union Tribune
"A subtle and haunting novel. . . . In Lightman's hands, the act of remembrance becomes a meditation on time, loss, and the ultimate selfishness of love. His writing gets under your skin precisely because of its measured and undemonstrative tone." --Daily Mail (London)
“An achingly beautiful story about memory and the loss of passion. . . . Lightman succeeds in writing an inventive, unsentimental love story.” —The Newark Star-Ledger
"Uncommonly rich imagination . . . a masterful touch." -- Rocky Mountain News