In our first book review of August, reviewer Mrudhula M examines Richard Goodkin’s Mourning Light, out now from University of Wisconsin Press. Mourning Light is a book about “healing from grief,” our reviewer writes, one that doesn’t “shy away from… the ugly parts” of the relationship between the novel’s protagonist, Reb, and his lover Anthony. Set against the AIDS crisis, Mourning Light “offers an intimate account of Reb’s life as he took care of Anthony through his illness.” Read the full review below.
In Mourning Light, Richard Goodkin seamlessly ties parts of healing from grief to living in a life without your beloved. Drawing from Goodkin’s own experience working at Yale University, and then moving to Wisconsin, Reb, the novel’s narrator, is a man believing he would never be loved, a man who had accepted his fate long before he met his lover, Anthony.
The story takes place during the AIDS epidemic in the United States, when Reb, named after Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, is haunted by the death of his lover whom he believes he’s killed. When Reb meets Anthony in a sauna, Reb is an assistant professor of English at Yale teaching a class on Shakespeare, and Anthony is a postgraduate student.
Goodkin doesn’t shy away from writing the ugly parts of their relationship, portraying them the way he does the beautiful parts.