The Light of Amsterdam

Photo: Philip Friedman/Studio D

1 of 4
The Light of Amsterdam
384 pages; Bloomsbury
Loss and regret haunt the residents of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who populate David Park's poetic, hopeful novel, The Light of Amsterdam. There's Alan, whose "one and extremely pathetic infidelity" has broken up his family; Karen, who has pinched a bracelet from the retirement home where she works as a cleaner to support her self-centered daughter; and Marion, who mourns her youth and worries that her husband will stray. Strangers, they all visit Amsterdam on the same December weekend. As the characters navigate the city's narrow streets and canals, their lives intersect, for the most part fleetingly. But what really unites their stories is a common desire to somehow break the "silent bonds of loneliness" and find that "however small, a spark of grace or holiness" exists within them.
— Katherine Wessling