Annette Gilson, author of the novel, New Light
now available from Black Heron Press


Synopsis of New Light by Annie Gilson:

Beth Martin wakes up one day feeling that she has wasted her life.  She goes to Saint Louis to visit her college roommate and take some time to get her bearings.  But at a party she experiences what she can only call a vision, which she finds disconcerting, but also strangely compelling.  Also compelling is her seeming chance meeting with a neuroscientist who is researching vision phenomena.  Beth accompanies him to New Light, a visionary commune in the Missouri Mountains where she meets its charismatic leader and is befriended by some of its members.  Their conception of American life challenges the mainstream in a number of ways, most notably in their openness to sexual and emotional experimentation.  Beth is intrigued by the sense of possibility she finds at New Light, but is also disturbed by the enormous power its leader wields over the members' lives.  In the end she must address questions of faith and responsibility, loyalty and desire, jealousy and tolerance.

"New Light is a lively and intelligent piece of fiction.  It offers a reader an insightful excursion into the world of contemporary American utopian/communal life.  Told in a fluent way by a sympathetic and engaging narrator, the story is both intriguing in itself and one that stands in the American line of fiction about utopian experiments which extends from Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance to the present.  New Light is a romance that works on a number of levels, from the literal interaction of the main character and her new friend Houdini to that of the social, historical and philosophical matters conjured by her tale.  Clearly Gilson is a professionally mature writer who holds to high standards of craft and art." --- Alan Cheuse


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Visit the web site of Black Heron Press; publisher of New Light

Oakland University

 Oakland University Department of English