Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: Wait Until Twilight

Summary: A hauntingly strange and powerfully affecting debut novel that heralds the arrival of a unique and captivating literary voice, Sang Pak's Wait Until Twilight is a coming-of-age story that explores the complex darkness infecting a damaged psyche in a small Southern town.

Not long after his own mother's death, sixteen-year-old Samuel discovers a set of deformed triplets hidden behind closed doors in his sleepy Georgia community. The babies—whose shut-in mother believes they were immaculately conceived and whose menacing brother is a constant threat—take control of Samuel's every waking and sleeping thought. His only escape, he realizes, will be to save the monster children. But to do so, he must rein in his darkest impulses as he undergoes a profound transformation from motherless boy to self-defined man—because sometimes the most terrible monsters are those that live inside us all.-- Harper

I am always drawn to coming-of-age stories so WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT by Sang Pak sounded like a book that I would definitely enjoy. I thought the idea behind this novel sounded pretty unique -- a young boy who is battling both an external enemy as well as his own internal demons, but I can honestly say that this book was not what I was expecting. I'm not even sure WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT is like any book I've ever read. It was part horror, part Gothic, part coming-of-age, and part fantasy; and it also had some humor thrown in.

After I finished reading WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT, I wasn't sure what to even say about this book (and you know I usually don't have a lack of words); however, as I reflect back on this story, there are a lot of things to appreciate. I hesitate to say that I enjoyed reading WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT because I found it to be a very difficult read. I don't mean that the writing wasn't good or the characters weren't developed because I think both of those things were very well done. I just mean that this book messed with my mind, and I was very uncomfortable reading parts of it.

The more I thought about my discomfort, the more I realized how well the author told this story. I was actually squirming at times while reading WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT and I even found my heart racing. I think Mr. Pak did an incredible job of creating and building suspense, and I actually could feel Samuel's terror. I now appreciate how this book made me feel (even though I was really freaked out) because I am rarely affected by books this way. Having said all of that, I have to warn you that this story isn't for the faint of heart!

I liked Samuel for this most part (he was a teenager and you know how that can be) and there is no doubt that my heart went out to him because he lost his mom at such an impressionable age. But I had no idea how attached I became to him while reading this book. Once again, I think this is a testament to how well the author told this story and developed Samuel's character. I think the story was better because it was told in Samuel's voice; and I thought he was a very real, albeit troubled, teenager. As I read this book, I found myself desperately wanting Samuel to find some peace in his life; however, I admit that I was skeptical that he could. Without giving too much away, I am so very grateful to the author that the book ended the way it did!

I was very impressed with Mr. Pak's writing especially since WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT is his debut novel. At times, I was blown away by the honestly of his writing as well as his characters. I definitely appreciated how he incorporated Samuel's dreams into the story and how he used light/darkness/twilight to establish the moods of the novel -- I thought it was all very well done. Mr. Pak is currently on a break from a graduate program in psychology, and I thought it was evident in this novel that he has a strong background on this subject matter.

There is no doubt that WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT will make you think -- on so many levels! I am definitely recommending it as a book club selection, if your book club wants something a bit unusual. There are wonderful discussion questions -- I absolutely loved them -- that will help facilitate your discussion. In fact, I liked the book even more after I went through the questions and thought about my answers.

Thanks to the author and the publisher for sending me a copy of WAIT UNTIL TWILIGHT.


Serena said...

I also have to review this book as well. It sounds like a good one.

Erika Robuck said...

That sounds great. I'll have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's quite a review. I don't know whether to pick the book up or not though.

Beth F said...

Great review -- and I don't do well with horror or books that mess with my mind (even ones with humor and even ones by Stephen King!). So I won't be reading this one. But I appreciate knowing what it's about.

bermudaonion said...

Wow, that sounds like some book! I don't think I need a book that will mess with my mind right now.

Beth Kephart said...

I am enormously impressed by all you read — so quickly — and how thoroughly you review.

Such a strange, strange tale, this one.

Book Escape said...

I love books that affect you like that, even if it is a little uncomfortable. It takes a gifted author to do that. I'm definitely going to check this one out!

S. Krishna said...

Wow, what a great review. This definitely would make a good book club read.

ibeeeg said...

What a great review. I am drawn to this book yet am very hesitant. This book sounds very haunting and I am not sure I can go there. I am going think about this one...may even read just to challenge myself to read a book that the summary alone puts me on edge.