The Valley of Light
By Terry Kay
(Atria, Hardcover, 9780743475945, 256pp.)
Publication Date: October 7, 2003
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On a sunny summer day in 1948, Noah Locke arrives in Bowerstown, a small North Carolina community bordered by lakes and set deep in the Valley of Light. A quiet, simple man and a war veteran, Noah has a mystical gift for fishing, yet he remains haunted by the war and by the terrible scenes he witnessed when his infantry unit liberated Dachau. His wandering -- doing odd jobs and catching fish for sale or trade -- is both an escape from his past and a search for a place to call home.
In the valley, Noah is initially treated with amusement by the locals he meets at Taylor Bowers's general store -- until he begins fishing. Once they see his almost magical skills, however, he becomes the talk of the valley and is urged to stay long enough to participate in the annual school fishing contest. He agrees, accepting a job offer by Taylor to paint his store when he isn't filling orders for fish. He finds lodging in an abandoned shack by a small lake the locals call the Lake of Grief and, also, the Lake of No Fish, because they think all the fish have disappeared. Noah knows they are wrong. Beneath the water is a warrior bass waiting to test Noah's gift.
In the way that innocence creates powerful events, Noah meets Eleanor Cunningham, a young widow whose husband supposedly killed himself after returning home from the war. Over the course of a week, Noah will be led into the secret lives of the residents of the Valley of Light, will join them as they mourn a tragedy, and will experience a miracle that will guide him home at last.
Luminous, memorable, and deeply moving, "The Valley of Light" is the finest work to datefrom a brilliant storyteller.
Terry Kay's novels include Taking Lottie Home, The Runaway, Shadow Song, and the now-classic To Dance with the White Dog, twice nominated for the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award, and winner of the Southeastern Library Association Book of the Year Award. Terry Kay has been married for 44 years and has four children and seven grandchildren. He lives in Athens, Georgia.