New Light (Hardcover)

By Annette Gilson

Black Heron Press, 9780930773779, 320pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2010

List Price: 23.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Beth Martin wakes up one day feeling she has wasted years of her life. She goes to St. Louis to visit her college roommate and take some time to get her bearings. But at a party she experiences a vision, which she finds disconcerting, but also compelling. Also compelling is her seemingly chance meeting with neuroscientist who is researching the vision phenomenon. Beth accompanies him to New Light, a visionary commune in the mountains where she meets its charismatic leader, a woman known as The Mother, and is befriended by some of the members. Their conception of America is challenging, most notably in their openness to sexual and emotional experimentation. Beth is intrigued by the sense of possibility she finds at New Light, but is also disturbed by the enormous power The Mother wields over the members' lives. In the end Beth must address questions of faith and personal responsibility, jealousy and desire, loyalty and tolerance.

About the Author

Annette Gilson was born in New Jersey and educated at Bard College and Washington University, where she earned her Ph.D. She lived abroad and in New York City for several years, and is currently an associate progessor of creative writing and contemporary literature at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. New Light is her first novel.

Praise For New Light

“New Light is a lively, intelligent piece of fiction. It offers a reader an interesting and insightful excursion into the world of contemporary American utopian/communal life. It is a story that is both intriguing in itself and one that also stands in the American line of fiction about utopian experiments. The main character is sympathetic and engaging, and tells the story in a fluent and compelling way. New Light is a romance that works on a number of levels, from the literal interaction of the main character and her new friend Houdini to that of the social and historical and philosophical matters conjured by her tale. The scenes move along with buoyancy and an expert sense of pacing. Clearly Gilson is a professionally mature writer who holds to high standards of craft and art.” — Alan Cheuse