WHERE ALL LIGHT TENDS TO GO by David Joy
You have to meet David Joy, all 6’5” of him, to really appreciate the irony of his new novel which is so at odds with his personal life. Where All the Light Tends to Go is a story on full throttle, about rotten-toothed meth heads, bad cops and parents so pathological they make Honey Boo Boo’s mom look like a saint. (David’s parents were at FoxTale, ever-so-proud of their author son, resembling main character Jacob McNeely’s folks not in the least.) And David is quick to tell you his debut novel is not autobiographical. So what’s the author’s inspiration? “They’re my people,” he says of the grittier side of North Carolina; clearly Joy understands—even respects—their desperation, although he doesn’t share it. Joy brings a sense of optimism to an otherwise bleak existence and makes the reader care about the possibilities of redemption and escape, the power of hope and sacrifice. Where All Light Tends to Go is a tale that’s described as Breaking Bad meets Winter’s Bone, so don’t read it if you simply must have a PG-rated story. But if you’re looking for beautiful writing in the vein of Larry Brown or Ron Rash or Andre Dubus III, where there’s still light in the darkest corners of God’s green earth, this is a book that will make you think. It is a real story, raw and painful with a beauty all its own. With a unique literary voice and this powerful debut novel under his belt, I predict we will continue to hear great things from David Joy. I, for one, am already hooked.