Four-Stars Plus

    Dying Light

    Four-Star Plus Reviews by readers on Amazon.com and Goodreads.com

    Dying Light Editorial Review

    "Readers seeking a memorable story filled with poetic phrases,thought-provoking moments, and a non-linear plot that challenges one tothink will find Dying Light the perfect ticket for an absorbing,winning, reflective read."  - Midwest Book Review

    The best stories start out with a compelling 'bang' of originality - that said, it's important to note that this impact is not often seen in the usual novel. But Dying Light holds this immediacy and promise in its first few paragraphs, which offer a refreshingly original language and focus that makes it hard to put down from the very start: "We've all got a story we're just dying to tell. A searing truth. An itchy secret. A deep, unresolved hurt. Sometimes we only need a nameless stranger in a quiet place, at an opportune time, for our chance to unburden ...So on my flight, I let the blonde woman next to me talk while she drank Smirnoff, turned away from a disintegrating marriage, and questioned everything. That was Julia in 2C."
     
    The plot thickens, however, because this isn't a singular story, but a series of interwoven tales that offer complexity and a sense of futuristic intrigue that is not easily categorized or absorbed.

    Documentary filmmaker Benjamin Beal leads a life marked by broken relationships, dreams, and objectives, flitting like a butterfly from one possibility to another, but never landing anywhere for very long.
     
    His latest fling is but another casual notch on a peg that is only emotionally driven by his documentaries; the latest being The Crowdsource 7, about crowdsourcing living organ donors.
     
    What elements and circumstances could turn an emotionally bankrupt professional into a spiritual being? How does death bring with it the possibility of transformation? And how does Benjamin navigate a suddenly much-changed world to find new inspiration and meaning?
     
    Texas culture and personas blend with specifics on documentary filming and angles and Benjamin's choices and changes, melding together a seemingly-disparate set of observations from a filmmaker who finds himself drawn into his latest production in a way he couldn't have anticipated.

    The same is true for the reader: Dying Light opens with a bang, changes its premises several times, then settles down for a powerful, evocative read filled with different angles on Benjamin's processes. At times, the reader feels like a movie viewer, following the moments when the observer becomes part of his own story line as Benjamin moves from a recorder of events to a participant in them.
     
    "Everyone has a story with plot twists," the protagonist maintains. Dying Light mimics life's nuances by throwing in quite a few changes in pace, action, and intention, keeping readers on their toes throughout a vivid, immediate story that shifts its perspective as often as its characters change course in their lives.
     
    Readers seeking a memorable story filled with poetic phrases, thought-provoking moments, and a non-linear plot that challenges one to think will find Dying Light the perfect ticket for an absorbing, winning, reflective read.
     
    An appropriate summary of the entire plot is reflected in one of Dying Light's most powerful statements: "Lisa told me that people lost their way in Austin all the time. I challenged her on that observation just for fun. After all, what did I know? "Maybe they don't lose themselves," I offered for consideration. "Maybe these people just find who they really are. Maybe it only looks like they're lost."

    D. Donovan
    Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

    Reader Reviews and Ratings

    Dying Light is a rare first novel that combines realistic characters and dialogue as well as sophisticated plot development and emotional maturity. The story of Benjamin Beal and his struggles with his relationships with his peers and mentor is assisted by credible plot and story developments. Seldom do sub-plots have such an engaging appeal as Dying Light.

    This is a story that will engage you on multiple levels. The interactions between characters are realistic. Scenes will stick with you, long after you have walked away from the story. This is the ultimate gift, that there are moments that are so true that they become a “chance encounter where something intense is shared…” Characters will become friends you wish you had. Benjamin says, “Let them talk,” I say “enjoy listening to them talk.”

    Once you have finished, you will be anxiously awaiting his next work.
    Dying Light is a beautiful story of personal growth, romance and wisdom.  I found myself asking “What is success, after all?” once I finished the book.  The main character, Benjamin, starts the book with an ego the size of Texas, the state where Dying Light is set.  He must confront his past and learn about love if he is going to truly thrive and live.  The characters were compelling and the style of the writing grabbed my attention.  I also enjoyed the humor in the book.  Sometimes I was laughing out loud; sometimes I was compelled by the eloquence of the writing as life lessons unfolded.  I highly recommend this novel.
    Here is a terrific novel from Texas author Donald Griswold. And it is one of the best Texas novels I have ever read. The writing is sharp. The pace is brisk. And the story is brilliant. And what a story it is. What first appears to be another 'mentor mentee death lit tear jerker' turns out to be something much more. And much bigger. Something as big as Texas.

    Most readers are familiar with the great State of Texas. And many have personally experienced what is today's version of Texas. But there is more to Texas than that. A lot more. And this is where Donald Griswold's novel "Dying Light" delivers. Separate from the reality of Texas is something much more appealing: The idea of Texas. And this is the Texas revealed in "Dying Light." The idea of Texas. It's promise. It's possibilities. It's state of mind.

    Many writers have attempted to capture the Spirit of Texas on the written page. A precious few have succeeded. Donald Griswold is now one of them. In "Dying Light" he does so. And the result is a terrific novel.

    I recommend this book without hesitation or reservation.
    As an avid non-reader, I thoroughly enjoyed Dying Light.  The book drew me in to the point that I absorbed some of Benjamin’s anxiety about ongoing projects - but just as the main character learned to focus on the personal more than the professional, I learned to shift my opinions; as Fischer Lehmann taught Benjamin, he taught me, too.  Bravo for bringing the reader into the learning experience!
    “We’ve all got a story we’re just dying to tell. A searing truth. An itchy secret. A deep, unresolved hurt. Sometimes, we only need a nameless stranger in a quiet place, at an opportune time, for our chance to unburden.” The opening words of Chapter 1 so profoundly resonated with me that I was immediately drawn in and held captive for the duration. It’s the artful turn of phrase and the depth and texture of his prose that connects me to the author and the story he so deftly tells. Our protagonist, Benjamin Beal, is in need of redemption, whether he knows it or not, and Mr. Griswold is a master at constructing the small quiet moments, ripe with possibilities, in which Benjamin just may find it. I reveled in the journey and was emotionally satisfied when we arrived at our destination.

    Reader Reviews and Ratings

    Dying Light is a rare first novel that combines realistic characters and dialogue as well as sophisticated plot development and emotional maturity. The story of Benjamin Beal and his struggles with his relationships with his peers and mentor is assisted by credible plot and story developments. Seldom do sub-plots have such an engaging appeal as Dying Light.

    This is a story that will engage you on multiple levels. The interactions between characters are realistic. Scenes will stick with you, long after you have walked away from the story. This is the ultimate gift, that there are moments that are so true that they become a “chance encounter where something intense is shared…” Characters will become friends you wish you had. Benjamin says, “Let them talk,” I say “enjoy listening to them talk.”

    Once you have finished, you will be anxiously awaiting his next work.
    Dying Light is a beautiful story of personal growth, romance and wisdom.  I found myself asking “What is success, after all?” once I finished the book.  The main character, Benjamin, starts the book with an ego the size of Texas, the state where Dying Light is set.  He must confront his past and learn about love if he is going to truly thrive and live.  The characters were compelling and the style of the writing grabbed my attention.  I also enjoyed the humor in the book.  Sometimes I was laughing out loud; sometimes I was compelled by the eloquence of the writing as life lessons unfolded.  I highly recommend this novel.
    Here is a terrific novel from Texas author Donald Griswold. And it is one of the best Texas novels I have ever read. The writing is sharp. The pace is brisk. And the story is brilliant. And what a story it is. What first appears to be another 'mentor mentee death lit tear jerker' turns out to be something much more. And much bigger. Something as big as Texas.

    Most readers are familiar with the great State of Texas. And many have personally experienced what is today's version of Texas. But there is more to Texas than that. A lot more. And this is where Donald Griswold's novel "Dying Light" delivers. Separate from the reality of Texas is something much more appealing: The idea of Texas. And this is the Texas revealed in "Dying Light." The idea of Texas. It's promise. It's possibilities. It's state of mind.

    Many writers have attempted to capture the Spirit of Texas on the written page. A precious few have succeeded. Donald Griswold is now one of them. In "Dying Light" he does so. And the result is a terrific novel.

    I recommend this book without hesitation or reservation.
    As an avid non-reader, I thoroughly enjoyed Dying Light.  The book drew me in to the point that I absorbed some of Benjamin’s anxiety about ongoing projects - but just as the main character learned to focus on the personal more than the professional, I learned to shift my opinions; as Fischer Lehmann taught Benjamin, he taught me, too.  Bravo for bringing the reader into the learning experience!
    “We’ve all got a story we’re just dying to tell. A searing truth. An itchy secret. A deep, unresolved hurt. Sometimes, we only need a nameless stranger in a quiet place, at an opportune time, for our chance to unburden.” The opening words of Chapter 1 so profoundly resonated with me that I was immediately drawn in and held captive for the duration. It’s the artful turn of phrase and the depth and texture of his prose that connects me to the author and the story he so deftly tells. Our protagonist, Benjamin Beal, is in need of redemption, whether he knows it or not, and Mr. Griswold is a master at constructing the small quiet moments, ripe with possibilities, in which Benjamin just may find it. I reveled in the journey and was emotionally satisfied when we arrived at our destination.
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