A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay is a beautiful novel about choices and how it comes to define who we are. Yes, it’s another one of those novels but when you have one that is written by a veteran author, you just can’t go wrong. In a way, books are like movies to me in that many a times I have no idea when new one’s are released. However, when you discover that an author or movie with your favorite movie stars are in it, you just know deep down that you’re going to read or watch it without any hesitation. Guy Gavriel Kay is one of those authors among many in that list. He once again does not disappoint.
The characters that we follow along in the novel aren’t exactly what you’d call exciting or memorable. They feel like normal everyday people that just so happen to have made decisions that would affect them all in the future for better or worst. It’s one of those things that gets you thinking about what would or could have happened if certain decisions, no matter how small it may have seemed at the moment, were made differently at the time it happened. There are bound to be times where people make decisions on the spot that may not make sense then but would ultimately play a big part in their lives to come. The story is told in hindsight by one of the main characters and from the get-go it just sucks you in to his world.
The novel deals with a lot of different topics ranging from war, romance, truth seeking, violence, faith and more. Although the characters are connected somehow, some way in the novel, it’s quite interesting to realize that they actually don’t spend a whole lot of time together! They actually spend more time being away from each other than they do together yet their lives are still somehow entwined with each other for better or worst.
One of the better part of reading this novel on my Kindle is being able to easily highlight the many, and I mean many, philosophical quotes sprinkled throughout. As an extra bonus, the author went ahead and came up with some very good questions to ask his readers after having finished the novel. I imagine these questions would do well in book clubs. I personally spent a good deal of time reflecting on those questions. Authors of all genres should do this more often! Novels like these are always a breath of fresh air. It’s thought provoking, elegantly written, mature and best of all, it actually ends without it being a three or four book series! Bravo!