In The Sunlight Dialogues, John Gardner s vision of America in the turbulent 1960s embraces an unconventional cast of conventional citizens in the small rural town of Batavia, New York Sheriff Fred Clumly is trying desperately to unravel mysteries surrounding a disorderly, nameless drifter called The Sunlight Man, who has been jailed for painting the word LOVE acrossIn The Sunlight Dialogues, John Gardner s vision of America in the turbulent 1960s embraces an unconventional cast of conventional citizens in the small rural town of Batavia, New York Sheriff Fred Clumly is trying desperately to unravel mysteries surrounding a disorderly, nameless drifter called The Sunlight Man, who has been jailed for painting the word LOVE across two lanes of traffic, and who is later suspected of murder The men battle over morality, freedom and their opposing notions of justice, leading each to find his own state of grace Their conflict is mirrored in the community of middlebrow politicians and their church going wives, Native Americans, working class immigrants, farmers, soldiers, petty thieves, and even centenarian sisters too stubborn to die Gardner s alchemy is existential from the most raw, vulnerable, and conflicting characters in the American melting pot, he transmutes common denominators of human isolation and longing With unnerving suspense, his acute ear for American speech, and permeated by his deep rooted belief in morality, this expansive, sprawling, and ambitious novel is John Gardner s masterpiece A superb literary achievement, noted The Boston Globe.
The Sunlight Dialogues In The Sunlight Dialogues John Gardner s vision of America in the turbulent s embraces an unconventional cast of conventional citizens in the small rural town of Batavia New York Sheriff Fred Cl
According to the quotations on the back cover of the 1983 Ballantine paperback, The New York Times hailed John Gardner as a major American writer whose promiseems unlimited The work itself, The Sunlight Dialogues has also been praised by Time as A compassionate portrait of America in the uneasy 60 s and A novel in the grand line of American fictiona superb literary achievement by The Boston Globe Although it isone of his better known works, Gardner remains best known for Grendel, a retelling of [...]
It took me a long time to read this book and I m still wrapping my head around it More to come Perhaps you want to hear me discussed it on Episode 053 of the Reading Envy podcast.
I picked up this book because I enjoyed the unique perspective and voice Gardner had found in Grendel I ended up being immersed in the small town yet universal world that has created in this book for nearly a month It is a long book and very dense The cast of characters is large I was happy to have the list of characters summarized at the beginning of the book for reference If you are looking for a page turner, this is not the book But if you are looking for fully developed characters that step [...]
Death has not been kind to John Gardner My high school English teacher assigned us this book, because I m sure Gardner was seen at the time as an important American writer But Gardner s motorcycle ran off the road, literally, and somehow his ascension to the American literary canon veered off track as well.I loved this book as a high school student Here s what I wrote about it in my diary in 1975 The Sunlight Dialogues is turning out to be a very good book An extremely good book To think I would [...]
The stars are from memory it has been so long Enough to say that from that moment on i bought everything of his in hardback til he died His generosity, insight and brilliance were the counterpoint i was hungry for when my college teachers were drooling over Barthe Not to put Barthe down, but I wanted confirmation that brilliance did not require disdain in order to shine.
When a book starts with a family tree and several pages listing the various characters, you know it s not going to be an easy read and this book isn t At almost 700 pages, it takes a while and you need those lists and that tree to keep people straight throughout the book I have mixed feelings about this book It revolves around two main characters Chief of Police Fred Clumly and The Sunlight Man, aka Taggert Hodge Fred Clumly has devoted his life to serving Law and Order in the small New York tow [...]
I keep coming back to this book It s a classic that is always worth reading again A strange visitor called The Sunlight Man with a mysterious past and some serious behavioral issues drops into a suburban community in upstate New York and begins to wreak havoc His invasive and anarchic presence there comes to the attention of Clumly, the chief of police Thus begins a series of confrontations between the two, which eventually evolve into clandestine meetings between them, and the dialogues really [...]
The Sunlight Dialogues started my love affair with John Gardner s work followed by October Light which was not as incredible, but lead me to buy everything he wrote Those who knew his work became saddened by his loss at such an early age This is the original Ballentine edition for which Paul Bacon did the cover art Jessica, it s for sale here for 1.10, plus shipping cgi.ebay The Sunlight DialThe SBN number was not on any of the listed editions, nor could I locate it on the net If a librarian wou [...]
This is the first book I read by Gardner it was an old copy and smelled faintly of must and has already been passed onto another If you have time this is a must read The book is heavy with characters all well developed and the full meaning of it doesn t really hit until a few days after finishing Written in the 1970 s it is most intriguing to see the way Gardner deals with issues of the time, ie Vietnam, racism, religion, etc and see how little times have changed Oh, and the analogies are spot o [...]
I m a fan of John Gardner, but reading him does feel to me like listening to a manic depressive sometimes he rises to heights of brilliance unimaginable, but he often hits lows, too, of boring passages, flat and irrelevant characters and plodding prose In Grendel, those lows are forgivable as the novel hooks you with its premise and voice and doesn t let go In Sunlight, however, I feel Gardner abused his audience Too many characters and too many plots that start and come to no end After followin [...]
Awesome in every sense of the word Gardner uses a diverse arsenal of writing styles to explore the lives of a sprawling cast, reveling in the minutia of American life in the 1960 s to answer those big, timeless questions that literature was built to address Full of a dozen conflicts that could each fuel their own novels, the police mysteries, family dramas, and philosophical battles that draw you from one chapter to the next don t end tidily with easy answers, but the sum of there conclusions is [...]
I agree with the New York Times Book Review I usually do , this book is large and beautifully written It is those things in the extreme I wish I could write like this expansive in scope, deep in character The craft The skill The architecture of the sentences and paragraphs The 1960s Also, this book is about 750 pages A long book It took me longer than I m used to to finish it And I admit, there were passages I skimmed toward the end That might have undermined the final impact of the novel So, I [...]
Ugh So glad to be through this Finally I ve read several books by Gardner that I ve really enjoyed, so I had pretty high expectations for this.Reading this was like 700 pages of a William Faulkner whose passion is philosophy, but he s insecure so he s got to demonstrate his IQ throughout the novel 700 pages of this tedious, dense, convoluted, multi generational mess Is Gardner brilliant Yes Does this novel demonstrate an ability to engage an audience Definitely not You know, the first part of du [...]
Maybe I m not fair to this book or this author, if it comes to that It was raved about to me by somebody who read books for a bit in their youth and never after Like they have established their credentials and could rest on them I prefer my books to be recommended by people who READ Is that unreasonable To me, a non reader telling me this book is the best, is like one of those people who can t cook at all, but think they do a mean lasagne because lasagne is so easy Sorry IMPOSSIBLE Avoid this la [...]
I usually love John Gardner Everything I ve read of his up until now has ended up on my favorites list, but this book was nearly impossible for me to get through There were so many characters and the narrator often referred to the characters by description rather than name, so it was confusing to figure out who was speaking or being described It felt very long and contrived The story idea is creative and Gardner often paints very vivid, quirky, and interesting characters, but I felt this time th [...]
this book is completely, completely amazing it is very long, and at times goes slowly, but I was entirely engrossed in it the writing is so beautiful and the world of the story so complex I found it randomly on a shelf in the library and picked it up on a whim, and nobody I know has ever read it I get the feeling that it might not be for everyone, but I highly recommend it.
This book has lasting power It got under my skin I still remember the looks on character s faces, described in certain scenes, which I find so rare and magical for an author to pull off John Gardner was an amazing storyteller.
Paused about 10% of the way in on this book will probably re visit at some point if only to be a completest for my John Gardner luv Unlike Grendel or Mickelsson s Ghost, however, it hasn t grabbed me in the first chapter.
John Gardner is one of those authors who always makes you work for itd it s always worth the work.
I slogged about halfway through this one before giving up Maybe another time Gardner is a terrific writer, but he waxes so darn philosophical It makes for slow going.
Why John Dufresne Matters More Than John Gardnerby Scott Archer JonesLet us gather together and sit in judgement You the reader demand the right to judge, to weigh up what fiction works and what fiction doesn t, and of course, all this opinionating piles up The sum composite of all of our beliefs tallies the verdict of time Take two cases, and pick a winner.John Gardner, rascal, iconoclast, a popular and an experimental post modern author strode the landscape like a god from his first book in 19 [...]
Totally guessing at the date I read it so long ago One of the most enjoyable fiction books I ve ever read It is intriguing, complex, philosophical and humorous.Want to read it again.
This could have been great if it were edited down to 400 pages or so As it is, the stuff about the Sunlight Man and Chief Clumly is wonderful, but the story of the Hodge family is beyond bloated.
I came to John Gardner about 45 years ago, when I read his Grendel, which as a teenager I thought a nifty turn of perspective About seven years later, when I was in the navy, I was distracted from the stench of our ship s berthing compartment by my immersion in October Light, which I re read with fervor about 18 months ago That re reading led to re reading Grendel and looking into Freddy s Book, and then, at last, Gardner s magnum opus In the most summative of ways, I d say that bigger isn t bet [...]
Tried to push on through, but there s just too much left and I can t get into it.
Faulknerian, but if Faulkner was from upstate New York and writing in the 1960s in other words I CAN T BELIEVE NOBODY TOLD ME TO READ THIS BOOK SOONERdang
Fred Clumly is the chief of police in Batavia, NY, nearing retirement, when a strange bearded man, known only as the Sunlight Man ends up in one of his cells, accused only, for the time being, of painting LOVE across two lanes of traffic But the Sunlight Man is not the harmless funnyman he appears to be Who is the Sunlight Man, and what does he have in store for the inhabitants of Batavia, New York The people of Batavia will never be the same, and an old and storied family, in particular, will b [...]
John Gardner was such a superb author His prose is melodic at times This novel is considered by many to be his masterpiece and I would have to agree It s an expansive novel with a sprawling cast of characters Set in small town Batavia New York, which I believe was the author s home town, it presents a microcosm of America in the 1960 s It s a shame John Gardner s life was cut short by a motorcycle accident because his writing is so engrossing The Sunlight Man forced a smile Another illusion Noth [...]
John Gardner s epic probably fits his ideal of a moral fiction to the teeth, but this in turn means the work is simply exhaustive no moment for detail is left un investigated no character is dealt with tersely or for mere narrative means Some of the characters are interesting and much of the description is downright mesmerizing, yet I cannot say I enjoyed the avoidance of brevity like a disease It also doesn t help that the ending didn t seem to tie enough of the narrative together I seriously e [...]
Brutal I can t remember disliking a read so intensely yet still powering through it I really enjoyed Gardner s short stories in The Art of Living, the novel October Light, and everything he s written on the craft of writing Grendel and In the Suicide Mountains are also both great I like John Gardner and I thought this book would be rad My guess is that coming off the success of Grendel his editor went on a long vacation and gave Gardner cart blanche on this novel Lots of it reads like a first dr [...]