Reiken ’88 explores unusual connections in new novel

i-ccd5ad5768ae5052394d87df69811398-DayforNight.jpg i-1ddb62185c18c58a222a2a3e55ede915-Reiken.jpgNew book: Day for Night, by Frederick Reiken ’88 (Little, Brown and Company)

The author: A former reporter and columnist, Reiken directs the graduate writing program at Emerson College. He also wrote the novels The Odd Sea (1998), about a family whose oldest teenage son disappears without a trace, and The Lost Legends of New Jersey (2000), which looks at the emotional and sexual life of a group of teenagers and their parents in Livingston, N.J, where Reiken grew up.

The plot: Reiken’s latest novel follows Beverly Rabinowitz, a New Jersey doctor born in Poland who as a child fled Europe during World War II. She takes a vacation to Florida with her cancer-stricken, marine biologist boyfriend, David, and his son. During that trip a chance encounter leads her to sense that her father, long believed to have been killed during the war, is close by. That event is one of many that eventually guide her to a startling discovery. Among the cast of disparate yet connected characters are a comatose teenage boy in Utah, an elusive sixties-era fugitive, an FBI agent, and a Massachusetts veterinarian who falls in love on a kibbutz in Israel.

Opening lines: “‘They’re around here,’ said our guide, as we slowly motored up the Homosassa River. It was late afternoon, a mildly sunny day in midwinter. My boyfriend David, his son Jordan, and I wore wetsuits, which we had rented along with snorkeling equipment. We’d been assured that a group of five overwintering manatees had grazing all day in the oxbow.”

Reviews: Publishers Weekly called Day for Night a “compelling tale” and an “imaginative and exciting read.” A reviewer for Booklist wrote: “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.”

By Katherine Federici Greenwood

Read about more Princeton authors on The Weekly Blog and view a complete list of works by alumni, faculty, and students at PAW online.