the Light in the Room
by Marilyn Brown
Category: Fiction / Historical
0 pages; ISBN: 1555176372
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
The Light in the Room
By Marilyn Brown
Salt Press 2003
Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of "This is the Place" and "Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered"
A tale told time and again, each in a form slightly different from the original, is a vital part of the tradition of story telling. It is a convention older than Homer's Iliad and as honored as a revered ancestor. It is a process that I find so fascinating that my most recent book, "Harkening," explores the process.
Then, coincidentally, Marilyn Brown's "The Light in the Room" falls into my hands to review. It is a book that follows that age-old practice. She has exhumed an old prize-winning novel ("Goodbye, Hello") and brought it to life again for the Christmas season. Needless to say, I found her book absorbing. It brings the art of personal history to life. It illustrates that a good story that never grows stale.
This is a special Christmas edition. It begins: "It would soon be Christmas. There was a taste of cinnamon and apples in the air…" Although the protagonist is nearly 90, she has not lost her sense of smell or imagination. She is an affirmation of life.
This pairing of Christmas and death, birth and new life, celebration and good-byes is the kind of thoughtful paradox Marilyn Brown uses subtly but oh-so-well!
Part of Brown's Christmas series, this novel is also about forgiveness and acceptance. What better topic to reflect on at this season of the year? What better gift could we give to others? Or to ourselves?
(Carolyn Howard-Johnson's new award-winning collection "Harkening,"
was called "…captivating…" by The Midwest Review. Learn more at