Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Light Of Falling Stars by J Robert Lennon

The Light Of Falling Stars by J Robert Lennon
Published in America by Riverhead Books in August 1997.

Featured in Cover Characteristics: Aeroplanes

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Bought at The Childrens Society charity shop in Garstang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The story of a small town rocked by the tragedy of a plane crash, the arrival of a stranger who claims to be the lone survivor of the crash, and a marriage about to crumble offers a richly textured portrait of change, compassion, and tenuous connections. A first novel.

Described as a novel of loss, grief and survivor guilt, The Light Of Falling Stars is set in a small American town, Marshall, which has the incredible misfortune to be the site of a plane crash. Many of the victims are local people so practically everyone is personally affected. Lennon divides his tale into three Parts with the first introducing us to selected relatives waiting at the airport, and the couple, Paul and Anita, whose house was partly destroyed by a falling engine. Part One is undoubtedly the strongest. Heavily emotional, but without being mawkish or overly sentimental, there are excellent character studies and Lennon seems to have an real understanding of the agony of waiting. Even cameo appearances such as the airport staff and chaplain are perfectly crafted.

Unfortunately, after this promising start, the novel loses its way and veers off to focus on the collapsing marriage of Paul and Anita. Their storyline has the potential to be an interesting novel in its own right, but I didn't like the way it took over The Light Of Falling Stars at the expense of the ensemble piece for which we had been set up. Other characters do still get a look in and their tales are neatly concluded in Part Three, but after the wandering style of the middle section, I felt that their emotional impact had been lost. And the final scene is embarrassingly schmaltzy.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by J Robert Lennon / Contemporary fiction / Books from America


  1. Oh, I am so sorry that what started as an emotionally deep and attracting novel to you kind of lost its way in the end. I feel so upset when a story does this :/ Hope your next read is better!

    My recent post:

    1. Yes, I had good hopes which were then disappointed