March 8, 2011

Favorite Books, Part I - And There Was Light

Erin Reynolds is single and lives in Washington D.C. In her spare time she likes thinking about the saddle her grandfather gave her, the next time she'll get to visit her niece and nephews, and the homeless man on his bike who likes to wish her a happy-belated-Mother's-Day, every time they cross paths.

I love the book, And There Was Light, by Jacques Lusseyran.

One late Friday afternoon I found myself in a library corner devouring an old talk by Neal A Maxwell. I don't remember which talk it was, but I remember Maxwell quoting Lusseyran's books as one of his personal favorites. On a whim, I ran to the library catalogue to see if the same book was available. Check! I still remember sitting down with "And There Was Light" and feeling a thrill as I read the first lines. "As I remember it, my story always starts out as a fairy tale, not an unusual one, but still a fairy tale." I remember being devastated when the library bell rang, signaling closing time, and I discovered I'd left my library card at home. Don't judge me, but I purposely mis-shelved the book in a dark, seldom visited corner of the library so that I could come back the next day and finish it. I know a book is great when I think back on its stories, its lessons, its questions time and time again. This is that kind of book for me.

Although the story revolves around betrayal, Buchenwald, and blindness, it reads like poetry and radiates of light.


  1. One of my faves. It's our book club book for August too. I can't wait to hear more from you, Erin.

  2. Erin, this is one of my favorite books as well! I was amazed by the wholeness of this story - Lusseyran tells such a heartfelt story, but also an intellectually stimulating story, of conviction and sacrifice despite his own tremendous trials. Very few books I've read have given me such a feeling of all around goodness.

  3. By the way, this week as I walked along the Seine River in Paris I thought of the scenes from Lusseyran's childhood and the amazing stories of the French Resistance. My experience there was as informed by this book as it was by my other favorite French story, Les Miserables. Thanks for the recommendation!