J Robert Lennon
Henry Holt, Aug 2001, 23.00, 246 pp.
Since the war with Japan ended, Grant Person has given a great deal of thought about leaving his family's remote ranch on the northern Great Plains. Grant who sees the haunting eyes of his parents and his younger brother Max daily cannot ignore the guilt of another sibling dying while serving his country in Grant's place. Unable to cope with the ghost, Grant takes the train east.
After several years away, Grant returns home to find his mother dead, his father gone, and Max abandoning the dilapidated ranch to paint. Grant decides to try to make a go of the ranch using the money he earned over the last few years as a sailor. A year later, Max returns with his girlfriend Sophia. Not long afterward, Grant and Sophia begin to fall in love splitting the siblings even more than when the older brother walked out several years ago.
ON THE NIGHT PLAIN is a perspicacious look at life on the Great Plains just after World War II. The story line paints a bleak picture of loneliness through the key characters, the two forlorn Pearson brothers. Readers will feel the bitter cold and solitude while trekking along the ranch. Once again J Robert Lennon has taken a dramatic twist from his previous novels (see THE LIGHT OF FALLING STARS and THE FUNNIES) by offering something new and different, yet retains the engaging prose expected of him.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner