Children of Light

Children of Light

by Robert Stone

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By "one of the most impressive novelists of his generation" (The New York Review of Books), Children of Light is a searing, indelible love story of two ravaged spirits, played out under the merciless, magnifying prism of Hollywood.

Gordon Walker, screenwriter and actor, has systematically ruined his family and his health with cocaine and alcohol. Lee Verger is an actress of uncommon and unfulfilled promise, whom Gordon has known since the days when they were both young and fearless, and whose New Orleans childhood has left her with a tenuous hold on sanity. During the shooting of a film on the Pacific coast of Mexico, they resume a ritual struggle in which their desperate love for each other will either save or destroy them.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307814173
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/04/2012
Series: Vintage Contemporaries
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Robert Stone's first novel, A Hall of Mirrors, won a William Faulkner Foundation Award. Dog Soldiers received a National Book Award, and A Flag for Sunrise won both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. His other honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the John Dos Passos Prize for literature, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Both A Hall of Mirrors and Dog Soldiers were made into major motion pictures. Mr. Stone dies in 2015.

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Children of Light 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
TheAmpersand on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The alchemists sought to turn lead into gold, but Robert Stone did them one better: he turned lurid trash into real literature. At his best, Stone manages to make the misadventures of his sleazy, drug-soaked characters play like real tragedy. "Children of Light" is not Stone's best. His prose, which is often hard-bitten and elegant in equal measure, still sparkles in places, and he skillfully weaves strands of Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" and Shakespeare's "King Lear" into a plot that describes the anguished final days of a fading film star. He also does a fine job of inhabiting a schizophrenic character, providing chillingly literal descriptions of the hallucinations that populate her inner life. What's missing from this novel, though, is any tension between idealism, however flimsy, and his characters' inevitable decline. In "Outerbridge Reach," Stone showed us the crack-up of a protagonist who was believed he possessed a great deal of moral fortitude; the characters in "Children of Light," on the other hand, are already scraping the bottom when the novel begins, and there's nothing for the reader to do but await their inevitable bad ends. Many of the characters in Stone's other novels come from respectable backgrounds and stumble into lives of crime. The panic they feel when they realize that they are in well over their heads is palpable, and important, I think, to Stone's success as a writer. By contrast, It's hardly surprising to learn that people in the film industry, where "Children of Light" is set, are emotionally shallow hedonists; a quick read through the "National Enquirer" will tell you as much. "Children of Light" is fascinating in the same way that car wrecks, or episodes of "True Hollywood Story" are, but not much in the novel takes the reader by surprise. Stone also navigates the border that separates serious literature from sensationalism less skilfully than usual. Both Stone and his characters make liberal use of film clichés, easily assuming and discarding a series of masks and shticks. Even so, Stone sometimes struggles to put enough space between his authorial voice and their Hollywood platitudes, particularly when they discuss their romantic entanglements at length. When his exhausted, far-gone characters discuss their affections, it's almost impossible to take them seriously, and, as a consequence, Stone's own writing begins to ring a little false. This problem is perhaps made worse by the fact that the coke-addled, post-hippie screenwriter at the center of the story reminds me a bit of Stone's own jacket photographs. Still, there's a lot in "Children of Light" that is vintage Stone: his fatalistic outlook often seems to emphasize how brilliantly vibrant his writing can be. With all of its shortcomings, this novel is still recommended to Mr. Stone's admirers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ending scene is at a bar, where Walker is with Shelley Pearce, a friend, and a French actor. Walker tells them that his wife was back. Shelley suggests that that would be a good title, Connie Came Home. But she supposed people would think it was an animal picture, which I thought as funny too. Walker is not amused, has given up drinking and eventually leaves the table. The ending line is from Shelley Pearce who says, ¿men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.¿ I did not really understand that line, like with many things in the book, but it could have something to do with the fact that even his immense love for Lu Anne, which otherwise comes out rather strongly, did not lead him to go with her. Or it could be the fact that she meant, that this guy, walker, after years of lading a wasted life, his spirit, his insides had all died, all for the love of Lu Anne. What I read about the author is that he generally writes about miserable souls in desperate situations. His father abandoned him at a young age and his mother was schizophrenic. The way I see it, the description of her schizophrenia, as such, is given very subtly. There are mentions of her Long Friends, which are little dark creatures. One of them is her son Charles, which appeared to be an aborted child. I was a little confused with the schizophrenia, because there were mentions of her looking into a mirror and seeing the smile, the eyes, the expression of characters played by her before, which I thought would be natural, with her being an actress. I perceive the way she dies, as a similar to that in which Edna (The Awakening) dies. Edna goes into the water thinking about her husband and children and how they were part of her life, but they need not have thought that they possessed her body and soul. This is quite a depiction of what went on in her life too. The book has a lot of dialogue, which has a lot to do with the characters and the place. The talk is very real, a few abuses thrown in.