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We Are the Light by Matthew Quick

Contemporary fiction

We Are the Light

by Matthew Quick

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Quick Take

In this moving tale of hope and redemption, an unlikely film production brings together a small town racked with grief.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Inspirational

    Inspirational

  • Illustrated icon, Quirky

    Quirky

  • Illustrated icon, Underdog

    Underdog

Synopsis

Life is full of guardian angels.

Lucas Goodgame lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania, a quaint suburb that has been torn apart by a recent tragedy. Everyone in Majestic sees Lucas as a hero—everyone, that is, except Lucas himself. Insisting that his deceased wife, Darcy, visits him every night in the form of an angel, Lucas spends his time writing letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl. It is only when Eli, an eighteen-year-old young man whom the community has ostracized, begins camping out in Lucas’s backyard that an unlikely alliance takes shape and the two embark on a journey to heal their neighbors and, most important, themselves.

We Are the Light is an unforgettable novel about the quicksand of grief and the daily miracle of love. The humorous, soul-baring story of Lucas Goodgame offers an antidote to toxic masculinity and celebrates the healing power of art. In this tale that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, Quick reminds us that guardian angels are all around us—sometimes in the forms we least expect.

Content warning

This book contains scenes depicting gun violence and mentions of suicide.

Why I love it

There aren’t many novels like Matthew Quick’s We Are the Light being published right now; the best art is not trendy, but rather trendsetting and original. This remarkable novel explores themes of community, forgiveness, kindness, and yes, the dark violence that seems to be inherent in the American Experience. But it eschews politics in favor of humanity, ignores easy answers in favor of hard-won redemption. At the center of the book is a very traumatized man named Lucas Goodgame. Lucas has been exposed to something horrific and lost his beloved wife and his moorings; however, he is desperately trying to find sure footing again. Surrounding Lucas is a cast of characters as diverse and beautiful as America itself, who slowly but surely find ways to help each other grieve and heal as a community.

We live in a sharply divided country where we often pit American against American, stoking fears and animosities. This isn’t editorial. I could turn on my television now and every other commercial would be a political attack ad. Or I could drive down the rural roads near my house and tell you the political affiliation of many households with just a glance. I worry about the sustainability of this current climate. I worry that it is easier to keep ratcheting the temperature up, rather than mutually agreeing to lift the teapot off the flame.

But this is what makes We Are the Light such a balm, the kind of novel that feels like a warm hand on your shoulder. This is the novel so many of us have been searching for in these troubled times. I promise you it will affect you like no other book you’ve read in a long time.

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Contemporary fiction
View all
The Last Love Note
Anita de Monte Laughs Last
The Leftover Woman
Interesting Facts about Space
Bye, Baby
Swan Song
How to Read a Book
The Connellys of County Down
Joe Nuthin’s Guide to Life
A Summer Affair
Adelaide
The Collected Regrets of Clover
Evil Eye
Maame
Advika and the Hollywood Wives
Once There Were Wolves
We Are the Brennans
Olga Dies Dreaming
If Only I Could Tell You
How Lucky
My Dark Vanessa
Nine Perfect Strangers
Honey Girl
One Italian Summer
Eight Hundred Grapes
The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes
The Five-Star Weekend
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
The Nest
Rich and Pretty
Britt-Marie Was Here
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
Startup
The Identicals
The Dinner List
Goodbye, Paris
Winter in Paradise
A Woman Is No Man
Queenie
Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Beyond the Point
What Happens in Paradise
Nothing to See Here
When We Were Vikings
Anxious People
A Good Neighborhood
Big Summer
The Last Story of Mina Lee
Troubles in Paradise
White Ivy
This Close to Okay
The Removed
The Kindest Lie
Good Company
Impostor Syndrome
The Other Black Girl
Apples Never Fall
A Quiet Life
We Are the Light
The Fortunes of Jaded Women
When We Were Bright and Beautiful
The Hotel Nantucket