The Discovery of Luminous Being
by Anthony Maulucci
Category: Fiction / General
106 pages; ISBN: 0964522608
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Norman Goldman
The title, The Discovery of Luminous Being, led me to believe that I was about to read a novel about an alien, who glows in the dark.
However, after reading the first few paragraphs, I knew this was not to be, and frankly I was not disappointed.
Novelist Anthony Maulucci delivered something far different, and his principle character, Raphael Trager, is certainly no alien. In fact, Raphael is someone, who probably is familiar to many of us.
After graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, Raphael decides to visit his artist father, who lives in Montreal. Apparently, this is his first visit to Montreal since the age of five, when he had traveled here with his parents before their separation.
This time, however, it was a journey to confront his intense and complex conflict with his father, who was more preoccupied with his art than with his family.
A conflict that stemmed even prior to the day his father had abandoned him and his mother and sister.
The opening chapter of the book sets the stage, when Raphael’s father apologizes for not having attended his son’s graduation, and his excuse being-that he had to meet a deadline to complete a mural project.
This is enough to trigger Raphael’s anger in reminding him that his father was never present when it counted, such as school plays and other events.
He now questions himself as to why he has visited his father- “if not to accuse him”
Maulucci effectively portrays the struggles between an angry young son and a carefree egotistical father. We come away convinced that both characters are flesh-and-blood people, and their issues are very much contemporary.
However, we are also reminded through the interweaving of the words and actions of two other characters, the father’s neighbor, Rabbi Klein and Raphael’s girlfriend, Suzanne, that there are never two sides to a conflict, but perhaps three, four or a dozen.
Choices are seldom clear, and even doing the right thing can sometimes lead to unforeseen and unfortunate consequences.
As Raphael concludes, his father had may have abandoned him at a very tender age, however, did he have the right to condemn him for that? He had wanted to hurt him, although in retrospect, he didn’t think he succeeded. Furthermore, did his father really care if he hated him or not?
As for the unusual title of the book, when I interviewed the author, he cleverly explained to me “it captures the essence of the central character’s most profound realization about his young life, but I thought readers would find it intriguing and want to find out what it means.” I must admit it certainly piqued my curiosity.
This review as well as an interview with the author first appeared on the reviewer's own site
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