Daylight: “Knowledge or understanding of something that has been obscure.”
Hannah and Lovell’s marriage is anything but ideal – or happy. He’s a climate scientist, immersed in his career to the point that he never puts work away, even when he’s home. She’s a mother to their children, fifteen year old Janine and eight year old Ethan, and works the same part-time job she had during college. Lowell is portrayed as the unhappy husband, angry that simple chores such as paying bills are being neglected by his wife, while Hannah is shown to be directionless and resentful of Lovell for her unhappiness.
All is bad, but it soon gets worse. The morning after a near-violent fight between them, Hannah disappears.
Hannah and Lovell were a mismatched couple right from the start. He was awkward and shy, a recent college graduate when she delivered flowers to his door. Hannah was beautiful, graceful, and raised in privilege. She was the type of girl that might have never given Lovell a second glance if not for the fact that the love of her life had just broken her heart. Their eventual marriage seemed more practical than romantic, yet through flashbacks of their honeymoon in paradise, you see that maybe – just maybe – there was love.
Hannah once asked Lovell about all the time he spent with his work: “When you look so close at something, doesn’t it start to disappear? Doesn’t it lose its fundamental it- ness?”
Her question becomes symbolic of the state of their marriage as Hannah and Lovell each look back on their life together, each from their own perspective as well as through the eyes of their children. For Hannah, sometimes you need to step away to see what’s in front of you. And for Lovell, sometimes you need to face the darkness to see the daylight. But once they do, will it be too late? Hannah’s still missing.
“The Daylight Marriage” is one of those books that is hard to put down once you start reading. Heidi Pitlor has an understated style of writing that makes her enjoyable to read. You will easily read one hundred pages, but feel like you’ve only read ten. If the characters she creates are not extremely likeable, they aren’t extremely unlikeable either. They are authentic. Problems in a marriage don’t bring out the best in either spouse. Pitlor is talented enough to know that denying that would have diminished her story. I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much.
“The Daylight Marriage” is a riveting, plausible tale that’s rich in symbolism and meaning. Read it with a friend. You’ll want to talk about it after you finish.
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