Nothing Holds Back the Night by Delphine de Vigan

Being a part of any community, let it be marriage, family or close circle of friends, does not entail an alignment of thoughts and values – however it often feels this way and forms the basis for connecting. Everyone knows an unsettling feeling that a certain kind of recognition brings, when all of a sudden your world becomes more parallel than related to that of others and an abyss opens to show you that an intersection of beliefs is made of so completely different directions that three dimensions are suddenly not enough to describe the space we live in.

This was the feeling of reading this book. After an initial story about a family that is at least close if not happy, where the joys and tragedies are described from a chronological and personal distance, it makes an abrupt switch to the consequences of a dark, previously unmentioned family secret, that weaves its web on generations to come. From an idealistic family portrait we are dragged into the personal lives of traumas and their tangible realities. The fundamental loneliness of each of us, that is never felt deeper than in a company of deft listeners, is shown within all its reach – to the point I wondered if perhaps it is not the author’s fault to make the threads that link solipsistic planets so little known. As in life, I was left to fill the blanks myself.

3 Comments

  1. It is almost a meme anymore – the story has a horrible, deep dark secret that is ruining the present and can’t be fixed.

    I’m tired of those stories – never liked them much before, because what can you possibly LEARN (other than not to do the deep dark secret thing when you’re a kid) from such desolation?

    I want to see people who manage their challenges more or less as they go and, like the rest of us, keep getting dumped on by Life, because that’s the way it continues. YOu finish with each stage – and there’s a nother, with a whole set of bins full of NEW stuff.

    There are always things left behind, and some of them are pretty horrible, but those aren’tt he ones I want to read about: they’re the ones I escaped.

    • fronaness@gmail.com

      May 7, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      I totally agree with you and perhaps I expressed myself badly, since it’s not a typical monster-child story, quite the opposite. This dark family secret is explained in a sensible and careful way and I really quite liked it. It was more about being stuck with the horrors forever if all around you are denying them and making, in this way, your acceptance and moving on impossible.

      • Pleased to meet you, Frona! Your introspection is so profound I didn’t follow clearly, which I suppose is never what we want. Hehe. Regardless, your writing is beautiful, I was impressed to find someone else puts thoughtful energy into what she writes. I do, thus readership and comments mean the world. I am thrilled something I wrote led you to find me and subscribe to my blog today! Thank you!

        My reviews aren’t as complex and I love what I can learn from your graceful style. I grimace if I see the crass reaction “meh”; as if that told us anything! I love a good discussion too, even if parties aren’t in agreement. Some people don’t know how to converse respectfully and openly (we need to keep my Dad and a certain friend of ours away from politics and religion). But bookish people have been my community for about six years. I dial-in with rural internet from the forest! Glad to know such a lovely writer, Carolyn.

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