Rebecca Dinerstein - 2015 Edward Lewis Wallant Award Recipient
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Rebecca Dinerstein

2015 Edward Lewis Wallant Award Recipient

Rebecca Dinerstein

Rebecca Dinerstein is the author of The Sunlit Night and the bilingual English-Norwegian collection of poems Lofoten. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The New Yorker, among others. She received her B.A. from Yale and her M.F.A. in Fiction from New York University, where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She lives in Brooklyn.

The Sunlit Night takes place in the beautiful, barren landscape of the Far North, under the ever-present midnight sun, where Frances and Yasha are surprised to find refuge in each other. Their lives have been upended—Frances has fled heartbreak and claustrophobic Manhattan for an isolated artist colony; Yasha arrives from Brooklyn to fulfill his beloved father's last wish: to be buried "at the top of the world." They have come to learn how to be alone.

But in Lofoten, an archipelago of six tiny islands in the Norwegian Sea, ninety-five miles north of the Arctic Circle, they form a bond that fortifies them against the turmoil of their distant homes, offering solace amidst great uncertainty. With nimble and sure-footed prose, Dinerstein reveals that no matter how far we travel to claim our own territory, it is ultimately love that gives us our place in the world.

Reviewers have unanimously praised the novel:

  • "Lyrical as a poem, psychologically rich as a thriller, funny, dark, warm, and as knowing of place as any travel book or memoir, The Sunlit Night marks the appearance of a brave talent."  —Jonathan Safran Foer

  • "By turns ravishing and hilarious, The Sunlit Night is more than a shining debut—it's the work of a young master. Here's an exciting new voice that sings perfectly in key." —Darin Strauss, author of Half a Life

  • The Wall Street Journal: "The Sunlit Night is an original work of gentle irony counterpoised by delightful sincerity, which offers distinct turns of phrase with precision and beauty."

  • From The New York Times: "The Norwegian Arctic of Dinerstein's imagination is a strange and wonderful place, half stark wilderness and half Scandi-kitsch paradise. The constant sunlight of midsummer feeds the book's dreamy, surreal quality."

  • From Publishers Weekly Starred Review: A "captivating debut novel...[Dinerstein's] prose is lyrical and silky, but it's also specific, with acute observations and precise detail, and she evokes the sun-stroked, barren Norwegian landscape with a striking sense of place...With provocative insights about the cruelty of abandonment, the concept of home, and the limits of parental and filial love, Dinerstein's novel is a rich reading experience."