More Light
by Jonathan Strong

ISBN: 978-1-935835-04-2
Perfect Bound, $19.00
Publication Date: December 2011
6 x 9 inches, 355 pages

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More Light is a musical fantasia, in major and minor keys, of the generations at a crossroads and how the stories within our stories weave about us as we grow and change and remember. Iva Sturtevant, a soprano of some repute in provincial European opera houses, has returned to her childhood home to tend her ailing parents. Iva's brother, Leo Sturtevant, who has never left Josephine, Illinois, has recently been dismissed from his social service job, suspected of inappropriate behavior. Now, awaiting the inevitable disappearance of the oldest generation, Iva entertains Leo with tales from her obscure romantic operas, and Leo entices his big sister to read an old 1960s paperback about the world's last heterosexual, a novel dear to him for its mirror image of his own plight in a tiny rural town. This old novel even inspires Leo to write something himself, in secret, a mystery story about twin boys, one of them accused of a violent crime.

Praise for Jonathan Strong’s previous publications:

“Strong's simple prose carries marvels, and, in the grand tradition of Modernist Literature, his climaxes are orgies of restraint.”  —Stephen Bottom, Band of Thebes

“Jonathan Strong is a true master, embodying all the old-fashioned attributes that count: a lucid style, a moral footing, an eye for the key details, and the kind of passion that shames cheap irony. In Consolation he has turned the university novel into the kind of splendid soap opera that Tolstoy used to give us. . . a triumph in every way.”  —Darin Strauss

A Circle Around Her is the entrancing story of a woman poised between the summer and the autumn of her life. Jonathan Strong makes us feel the cool breezes beneath the shortening sunny days, and he shows us how time complicates and colors our desires. This is a heartening novel. In each bittersweet encounter, Mary Lanaghan and her loved ones learn what it means to let go without giving up.”  —Michael Downing

An Untold Tale is an irresistible blend of mythic tale, psychological mystery and daily small-town gossip. . . borne along on the fierce tides of his characters' very different lives, sexual and political, intimate and public, charismatic and quite ordinary. This is a compelling book that reads like a small classic, the reticent kind New Englanders produce best: cool on the surface, seething with questions and challenges underneath.”  —Rosellen Brown

Secret Words is a deft and lovely book, humorous and touching, wise in the ways of the heart.”   —A.G. Mojtabai

“In Elsewhere Jonathan Strong has summoned a world where the terror and ardor of adolescence continue to haunt those who have long passed their teens.”  —Alice Hoffman

From More Light...

In the early morning before anyone else was up, Leo drove off in his little car into the hills. He did not know why he wanted to go for a ride after only one cup of coffee and before sunlight had hit the front of the house, but off he went. Pascal would be the next up, because for him it was mid-day in Paris. Leo did not want to talk to him alone. He was upset about what his oldest nephew had taken upon himself to do. Leo himself could never have managed to convince Dad to come home. The last time he drove him through Josephine, he had said, "I won't be seeing this beautiful place anymore," something like that. No, it was, "I thought I'd have more time here." After that, Dad did not want to see the old house ever again. He had said good-bye to it as he had said good-bye to Mom. He could not bear seeing her the way she was or for her to see him that way. Dad made things final. It was the lawyer in him. Then, here came Pascal with his presumptuous notion of what was best for his grandfather!
I'm angry at my nephew, Leo realized, driving north as the sun dried off the rear window. Eventually, he came upon that road with the sunny ups and damp dark downs. He intended to stop again on the high point above the cow pasture where he had gone with Iva. He had felt peaceful there and especially close to his sister. They each liked sitting on a hilltop looking at cows. On that day, they had not yet known how soon their father would be moving to the hospital.

The car struggled up the high hill to where the road widened out in a curve and Leo could make a U-turn and face back into the sun. There was the pasture with a line of Guernseys making their way out from the barn into their quiet grazing land. No old farmer, no farm boy walked along. There were only the cows and Leo alone with them and the far sunlit hills. He spied a cloud of dust moving down a distant gravel road. Someone else was out there. Then the dust settled as if no one had ever passed.

The air was chilly, but Leo got out and walked to the brink of the hill by the barb-wire fence and sat on a patch of long grass to watch. The cows broke up their orderly parade and found their separate munching places. It was possible for Leo not to think of anything now but the eternal scene.

After some minutes, it occurred to him that it was not the same, sitting there, without Iva. His thoughts were emptier now. Then what came to him was that she had once left him long ago and her new stories all came from across the ocean and he had only flown over to see her that one disastrous time when, it turned out, she needed him. Why had he never gone before or since? There was always a distance between them.
The cows stood in their spots munching grass, each on her own patch of the hillside. And then, they moved slowly along to another. Yes, now Leo was truly watching them, what they were doing down there. I belong here, he thought.

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