As a child, Beverly Rabinowitz fled Europe with her mother during World War II. Almost half a century later, while vacationing in Florida with her boyfriend and his son, a chance encounter leads to a strangely lucid moment in which she senses that her father, long believed to have been killed during the war, is close by. It’s the first of many seemingly random events that are guiding Beverly, and the people in her life, toward a startling discovery.
Over the course of Frederick Reiken’s provocative, intricate novel, Beverly will learn that her story is part of something larger, and brilliantly surprising. Because her story is not hers alone, but also that of a comatose teenage boy in Utah, an elusive sixties-era fugitive, an FBI agent pursuing a twenty-year obsession, a Massachusetts veterinarian who falls in love on a kibbutz in Israel, and a host of other characters. Day For Night illuminates how disparate, far-flung people can be connected, and how the truth of those bonds can upend entire lives. Each chapter is a small universe of its own, and together they form a dazzling whole.
Gliding effortlessly across time and space, in settings that range from Florida to New Jersey to the Caribbean and the Dead Sea, Day For Night builds toward moments of revelation, when refugees from their own lives, or from history’s cruelties, come together in unpredictable and extraordinary ways.
Praise for Day for Night
“A dazzling tour de force...There are too few actual miracles to emerge from the horror of the Shoah; this humane, enriching work makes us believe in one.”
- Sunday Telegraph (London)
“With his third novel, Day for Night, for which fans have had to wait a decade, the New Jersey native [Frederick Reiken] seems set to become a literary star...Reiken is a soulful writer as well as an artful one, and the confidence with which he proceeds is remarkable. ..There’s no denying the essential force of his vision and precise intelligence of his prose.”
- Financial Times (London)
“Compelling…ambitiously structured…engrossing…The links between these tales are complex and often deliberately elusive. Yet Reiken moves through his cast of narrators with such control that the very sense of ever-multiplying connections lurking just out of our field of vision (and left entirely for us to detect) is one of the pleasures of the novel... bewitching…unites a brilliant architecture with the plain poetry of the everyday. ”
- Sunday Times (London)
“Reiken creates a fascinating, emotionally acute and, at times, mind-bogglingly complex story to which we surrender with delight…Like a master puppeteer himself, Reiken inhabits every one of these characters completely and invests each with an independent life. ”
- Julie Orringer, Washington Post Book World
"Irresistible…profound…wondrous…hypnotically compelling…Reiken’s project is nothing less than to examine the human struggle with evil, and to urge us to heed a natural order that possesses, by his lights, an innate, benign wisdom…We are closer to one another, Reiken reminds us, than we dream."
- San Francisco Chronicle
"Frederick Reiken's new novel...reminds us how seemingly unrelated lives can all come together in the net of a master storyteller."
- Scott Simon, National Public Radio's Weekend Edition
Listen to the interview with Scott Simon on Weekend Edition (May 8, 2010))
“Reiken offers a thought-provoking, intricate portrait of the far-reaching, intergenerational implications of the Holocaust. Day for Night is strong and steady…a powerful, wildly elaborate narrative.”
- Los Angeles Times
“Reiken’s third book is constructed through a series of chance encounters, coincidences and random ephemera, all of which lead to an impossibly different—yet inevitable—place than where we started. Excellent…beautiful…”
- New York Observer
“It is often said that successful novels need at least two out of three things: good writing, good characters or a good story. That may be true. But in the best novels, like Frederick Reiken’s Day for Night, you get all three…Poetic and moving, Day for Night is a novel to remember..”
"While nearly every chapter is strong enough to stand on its own as a short story, it is the ways these tales are interwoven that packs the book with its ultimate punch....Reiken is a storyteller to be trusted....He makes the transition almost effortlessly between backstory and present adventure, his controlled storytelling and poetic, fluid prose allowing the book to move forward steadily and purposefully, albeit often heartbreakingly....Reiken certainly excels at building suspense....He succeeds in making the reader identify closely with his characters....Beyond the intricate structure Reiken has built, he penetrates inner, emotional complexities.""
- Haaretz (Israel)
"In Day for Night, Reiken offers us a glimpse not just of the manner in which we are bound one to the other, but of the secret life of possibility we all carry within...Each story feeds elegantly into the next, allowing the novel's larger design to emerge organically from the whole, an effect that is at first tantalising and finally deeply moving...Despite its structural audaciousness, there is nothing tricksy about the stories, nor about the human empathy and power of observation that lies at their heart."
- The Australian (Australia)
“Idiosyncratically and endlessly clever...Day For Night commands attention and demands respect.”
- Canberra Times (Australia)
“Day For Night by Frederick Reiken is like swimming the depths of a dark ocean – there is beauty and intrigue, darkness and light, and many unexpected encounters. Everything moves in a different way down there; just as the rhythms of Reiken’s writing moves in a different way. You want to keep exploring but you’ll need to come up for air soon. A mysterious undercurrent, apparent coincidence, and haunting – at times chilling – accounts are entwined into this complicated tale that spans time and terrain.”
- Brisbane Courier Mail (Australia)
“A gripping read…Reiken could be writer to watch”
- The Guardian (London)
“Haunting and ambitious...the title suggest illusion, paradox, the artifice used in film … We get Jung, Zeno of Elea,Orwell, Wilhelm Reich, Novalis – and Hasidic lore, multiple personality disorder, coma reawakening, radical Sixties politics. If this sounds like mind-boggling overload, Reiken does deliver, and there’s satisfaction in mapping connections...”
- The Independent (London)
“Frederick Reiken’s intricate third novel is a matryoshika doll of stories involving several generations of a family suffering the stain of the Holocaust and the effects of Jewish diaspora ...Reiken explored the confluence of loss and memory in his first novel, The Odd Sea. Here, the disparate connections between the characters...suggest that the net of history is made from invisible bonds embedded in everyday interaction.”
- Times Literary Supplement (London)
“Complex … Gradually links emerge between the separate stories at the narrative is taken up in the first person by different characters, each with an essential role in the larger story...”
- Daily Mail (London)
“Brilliant plotting, haunting characters, and an elegiac tone distinguish this dazzling novel…Contemporary fiction at its best – accessible, breathtaking, and heartbreaking.”
- Kirkus (starred review)
"It's an entrancing and profoundly complicated tale Reiken tells as he slowly reveals the submerged connections among his intriguing characters while sustaining psychological sophistication, suspense, shrewd humor, and many-tiered compassion. Reiken's novel of miraculous survival and discovery embraces the earth's splendor, humankind’s capacity for good and evil, and the fact that we are all linked and that much is concealed within our oceanic psyches."
- Booklist (starred review)
Breaking my Rule About Waiting Until the Book Comes Out Before Writing About It: a Note to Booksellers about Rick Reiken's Day for Night – from the blog of Daniel Goldin, owner of Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee, WI) – read more...
“Day For Night does what really good books so often do by forcing us to see the familiar world in new ways that reveal its wonder. It's a nifty trick that not every writer can pull off. Frederick Reiken can and does.”
- Richard Russo
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls
“Day for Night is beautiful, original, brilliant and swift. A novel that seems to be about everything, everywhere, yet wears its ambitions lightly and keeps hold of a strong, mysterious emotional core. I admired every page of it and can't wait to read it again.”
- Kevin Canty
author of Where the Money Went
“From the dazzling opening chapter of Day For Night, Frederick Reiken makes clear that the stakes for his characters, and for his readers, are nothing less than everything. Here is a world, our world, in which no one gets to escape the net of history and no one, finally, gets to deny their human connections. I held my breath while I watched Reiken assemble his own extraordinary minyan.”
- Margot Livesey
author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy