A Ring of Endless Light
originally published 1980
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 16th printing, 1980
Genre: Young adult, Bildungsroman, fantasy
Synopsis & Review: Almost sixteen, Vicky Austin’s summer begins with her first funeral. Family friend Commander Rodney is dead of a heart attack that occurred after he saved a wealthy young man who had sailed out into a squall. On top of Commander Rodney’s death, the Austins are on Seven Bay Island to spend the summer with Grandfather, who is dying of cancer. While Vicky tries to reconcile herself to the mortality all around her, Commander Rodney’s son Leo turns to Vicky for love and support, and she also meets Adam, a young man working with her brother John at the marine biology station. Like the proverbial bad penny, Zachary Gray, the young man with a heart condition and deathwish arrives on Seven Bay Island, and it was of course he who sailed into the storm that killed Commander Rodney. All three young men try to claim Vicky’s notice, Leo and Zachary out of friendship and desire, and Adam for his own purposes. He senses an openness in Vicky, something he can use for his private marine biology project, an attempt to communicate with dolphins. As much as he’d like to believe she’s just John’s kid sister, Adam becomes more aware of Vicky as a bright, loving young woman. And when the catastrophe comes, it is that lovingkindness in Vicky, her friends, and her family that will carry her through.
I’m pretty bummed that this is the last of the Austin Chronicles. (I skipped The Young Unicorns for now, because it didn’t hold my interest sufficiently before someone else in Multnomah County wanted to read it, the jerk. Some day.) At least I still have the rest of the Kairos books to look forward to (there’s a helpful chart/family tree in the beginning of this copy). Read the rest of this entry »