The Book of Lost Light, Ron Nyren, Black Lawrence Press, 2020
Ron Nyren’s The Book of Lost Light (Black Lawrence Press 2020)—winner of Black Lawrence Press’s 2019 Big Moose Prize and finalist in the 2020 David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction—tells the story of Joseph Kylander, whose childhood in early 20th-century San Francisco has been shaped by his widowed father’s obsessive photographic project and by his headstrong cousin Karelia’s fanciful storytelling and impulsive acts. The 1906 earthquake upends their eccentric routines, and they take refuge with a capricious patron and a group of artists looking to find meaning after the disaster. The Book of Lost Light explores family loyalty and betrayal, Finnish folklore, the nature of time and theater, and what it takes to recover from calamity and build a new life from the ashes.
Ron Nyren’s fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, The North American Review, Glimmer Train Stories, Mississippi Review, and 100 Word Story, among others, and his stories have been shortlisted for the O. Henry Awards and the Pushcart Prize. His writing about architecture, urban design, and sustainability has appeared in Urban Land, Interior Design, Metropolis, and elsewhere. He is the coauthor, with his spouse and writing partner Sarah Stone, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers and a former editor of Furious Fictions: The Magazine of Short-Short Stories. Ron earned his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan. A former Stegner Fellow, he is an instructor in fiction writing for Stanford Continuing Studies. In his free time, he loves going to the theater, museums, and the San Francisco Bay.