Warner, Mar 2002, 24.95, 305 pp.
Estate gardener Francis Foley becomes upset with his absentee employer. He sets fire to the manor house and steals a telescope from the estate where he worked. Taking his four sons ranging in age from twelve to nineteen, Francis flees across Ireland. However, fortune fails to shine on the five males as Francis is swept away by the current of a river they were crossing. His traveling companions assume their father died.
The four lads continue the journey. After meeting Blath, Tomas joins the New York Fenian movement. Teige becomes a Canadian horse ranch owner, but his love for Elizabeth appears doomed. Finbar marries a Gypsy and soon becomes head of her band. His twin Finan goes to a monastery in France before becoming a missionary in Africa.
THE FALL OF LIGHT is an epic nineteenth century family drama that follows the wanderlust of four siblings across the globe. Each subplot is cleverly intended to serve as a lyrical metaphoric symbolism of Ireland. However, though the design is often brilliant and for the most part accomplishes the objective, some subplots seem unnecessary and slow down the adventure. Still fans of sweeping Irish tales will enjoy Niall Williams' latest novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner