A Brightness Long Ago is the tale of those who will not be arrayed in glory, whose images will not be painted on the alls of great houses, and whose names will not be enshrined in history.
Danio is a child of Batiara—a dangerous place then, where you met monsters as often as friends—and he knew a boast of power when he saw it, but othing could have divulged how these encounters would awaken a dimension in him he never knew existed, that he would be hurled unwary into a tale far more ambitious than he would have been allowed in life had he timorously traced his way back home and let Adria Ripoli become nothing more than a fragmented image flittering at the dge of his memory.
With his invigoratingly hard-to-classify new novel, A Brightness Long Ago, Kay has crafted something audacious: he, refreshingly, tells delicate, fervent, small human stories about names whose significance would be otherwise meaningless, lost in the annals of history, those whose lives would burn onto the shadows like an afterimage of the sun.
His rose is intricat, yet never extravagant—the kind of potent, poetic writing that you hardly notice for how it flows across the page.Kay is also skilled at conveying place and people, and while the reader is only privy to the small corners—distant and blurred—that the author introduces us to through his haracters, the sheer exces of history, the notion of scope, and the shadow crumbs he summons for us to creep after—they all unveil a vicious grace, and a deft, sure hand.
Danio and Adria are two of multiple narrators, and with the xception of Danio—who speaks in the first person—their stories are told in alternating third-person narratives without any signposting of who they are to help the reader discern their voices.Luckily, the way A Brightness Long Ago revels in its subversion, and ay ’ s choice to interrogate the tropes used to define what a “ hero ” is—as well as our underlying need to ask it—is enough to forgive.
This book is, in many senses, a statement about how heroes do n't always fit our definitions, nor should they, and that 's what sung to me the most.Danio tells the tal of Adria, Folco and Teobaldo as they had been in the mists of his memory—two proud men, fractious and unyielding, each certain the world would fail without them, and the gir who had desires and defiance and powers more than others thought she ought to have—and the events that not only changed him, but transmuted him, transporting him to a parallel world with an altered gravitational axis.
It ’ s about choices that are like the leap from a waterfall, events with a fierce kismet feel—a little too coincidental to be entirely coincidences—and “ the random spinning of fortune ’ s wheel. ” It ’ s about the gentl, tremulous achievements of the people whose names will not persevere against the relentless onslaught of time, but who nonetheless left a mark upon the face of the world.