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In Perfect Light

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  180 ratings  ·  34 reviews
From award-winning poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz comes In Perfect Light, a haunting novel depicting the cruelties of cultural displacement and the resilience of those who are left in its aftermath.

In Perfect Light is the story of two strong-willed people who are forever altered by a single tragedy. After Andés Segovia's parents are killed in a car accident when he is still a y
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 9th 2005 by Rayo (first published 2005)
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It's not often that a book makes me so moved that I had to restrain the tears. This is one such example.

Benjamin Alire Saenz is known for his poetry and children's books and this book utilizes both aspects. The story enters around Andres Segovia, a young man who ends up killing someone because of his rage. The book hauntingly uncovers all the reasons for this rage, starting with the car accident that killed his parents when he was eleven years old. We hear Andres' childhood through his lawyer an
Fadzlishah Johanabas
I fell in love with Benjamin Alire Saenz's writing when I was reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Not after. During. What I did after was look for more books from Mr Saenz. Unfortunately, Kinokuniya only carried another title, Last Night I Sang to the Monster. I had to buy other books through

I love technology.

In Perfect Light arrived a little worse for wear, with dented and creased edges, brownish discoloration of the pages, and a black marker mark at th
Saenz makes me cry.
He is a poet, who writes about beauty and truth and love. His characters are broken and fragile and beautiful of spirit. He writes of heartbreak, healing and hope, always leaving us with hope fluttering fragilely in the final pages of his novels. He takes us on a journey of suffering and rendition, which we know will end in light.

In this story, though, Saenz is a painter; he concentrates on light and shadow, and his characters notice things and people and their changing appea
May 20, 2015 Allison rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
What I enjoy most about Sáenz's writing is his effortless prose. Even when dealing with some of the more heavy ideas in this novel, the horror and absolute shock is conveyed with grace and an invitation that it's completely okay to feel something. This is the third work that I have read by him and his ease and control over the language is still refreshing and beautiful.

Sáenz really knows how to totally devastate a reader and then, within a few pages, piece them back together. I found that, while
In Perfect Light is a novel about a young man named Andres whose life drastically changes after seeing his therapist, Grace Delgado. He's had to see a therapist several times, but finds it useless. He does not believe seeing Grace will help him. David, his lawyer- now for several cases- has made it possible for Andres to stay out of jail and keep seeing Grace. David knows Andres's struggled a lot after his parents died when he was 10. Grace develops empathy towards Andres, for he reminds her of ...more
Jul 03, 2009 Scott rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Readers in pursuit of great literature.
Shelves: novel
With the amount of suffering and tragedy the main character Andres and his therapist Grace endure, with the difficult topic of abuse and exploitation of children, it takes an extremely well written book to earn a 5 star level very enjoyable can't put it down rating. Saenz accomplishes this and so much more with his poetic lyrical prose. Analogies such as to a desert storm used numerously to describe our inevitable sufferings, trials, and tribulations added richness to the reading experience. One ...more
The only reason this book didn't get a higher rating from me was because of the language. I know, I know - it came in proper context...but this is MY rating, right? I didn't enjoy reading the f-word over and over. That being said, even though I didn't like a few of the "too realistic" aspects of this book, the realism (particularly the transparency in addressing real issues) in the book is also one of the things that I liked. I have never read a book that made my, sob, like this one. Th ...more
Unputdownable, the structure of this novel makes it somehow easier to digest. The theme: Nowhere Man is the product of an insensitive atmosphere. Yeah, sometimes a tad "Lifetime"y, this novel tells about two souls living in the borderland I call home: each one is full-fleshed and fully-realised. It is clear that the author invested an infintesimal amount of time figuring out who they are and what they want. The depictions of violence, not altogether something fictional in El Paso/Juarez, and the ...more
Liz Janet
WTF is this!!! No, this cannot happen. I knew, I knew it. Why is this author doing this? Why are you taking my heart? Okay Liz, take a breath.
Good. Now, I loved Mister, he is an amazing character, such a good person, a genuine guy. The representation of transgender characters was brilliant, as is everything he writes. All is done in such a lyrical way that you dream of a happy ending. Which you won't get so do not get excited.
Something else I really appreciated was underlying theme of the U.S.-
ariel Calderon
It's such an interesting book. Not just because I live in El Paso but reading from this perspective is so shocking. This book shows the hardships that some of us face in life. loved this book so sad but at the same time it's happy.
Heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. Alire Sàenz is a master.
Andrea Kassar
Lots of tears. Lots of them.
This book is going to change my life, I think.
Sáenz might be one of my new favourite authors. After reading his latest I decided I wanted to read as much of his work as possible, and this does not disappoint. Like Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club, In Perfect Light straddles time and the two cities of El Paso and Juarez. Sáenz has very lyrical style and his sense of time is just devastating.
Kathleen O'Nan
Saenz is an amazing writer, this time tackling the results of a horrible childhood. Sensitive and lovely writing about a tough subject.
This was absolutely heart-breaking, but I'm very glad I read it and I know that I will keep what I've taken away from this book with me forever. Just when you think things can't get worse, they do, but just when you think things can't get better either, they do. Benjamin Alire Sáenz's writing is some of the best I've ever read and I aspire to be as good as him some day. If you haven't read any of his work then do it, you will not regret it, I can promise you that.
Joonna Trapp
An interesting style and overtly spiritual, yet containing such raw, hurtful narratives and words. One of the main characters is named Grace, and the themes of the novel revolve around the working out of grace in the world. Beautiful, beautiful novel with the lovliness of the Spanish language weaving around the narrative. Via con Dios.
I'd probably give this four and a half stars. There were a few times I thought it was little bit over the top in the melodramatic department for my tastes, both in style and in events, but despite that, you really have to admire a writing style that makes a character-driven book filled with so much suffering and heavy themes read so effortlessly.
Adam Werley
A deeply emotional look at the balance between chaos and hope in our lives, and the balance is heavily to one side--though maybe that's the point. The ratio of redemption to pain and loss in this book is staggering. The book ends on a hopeful note, but it takes a long time to get there.
Shellye M.
This was a phenomenal novel, definitely a 4.5 rising up to a 5. Saenz is a beautiful writer and this compelling story is powerful both for content and for writing style. Recommended by Arcadio, Saenz is a former Stegner Fellow. So glad to have read this book and stumbled upon this writer.
I had, surprisingly, a hard time with the first half of the book. The narrative switches between pov's a lot, which I am usually okay with. The characters were all painfully human, and I couldn't put down the book simply because I wanted to know their stories, one by one.
Every book I have read by Benjamin Alire Saenz slays me, cuts me right to the bone, makes me wonder at the beauty and capacity of the human heart. His writing makes me ache to have his talent. This book was no exception, even as I read the last word I was wishing for more.
A beautifully written book by Benjamin Saenz about the plight of Mexican Americans who live in the United States and then live back and forth across the border. This is a wonderful, sad, funny, touching book. I highly recommend it!
Dawn Dempster
There were a few parts of this book that were difficult to get through, very sad.
Beautifully tragic and moving... the kind of book that makes you feel like you know the characters... brings them to life. The kind of book you don't want to stop reading.
Jul 27, 2010 Ania rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
Great book. This is not an easy read as it deals with a difficult subject, but it is so beautifully written.
Beautifully written - I couldn't put it down. Melanie, you have more than made up for Mr Pip with this one ;-)
Read about living on the border, Juarez and El Paso and the life that comes from that place in the world.
Another excellent book by Saenz. I can't recommend this author highly enough!
Nov 04, 2007 Lori rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
wonderful story. Sort of like the movie Crash where everything is connected.
Nov 19, 2008 Erynn added it
Easy read. Touching story. Enough with the light theme though.
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Benjamin Alire Sáenz (born 16 August 1954) is an award-winning American poet, novelist and writer of children's books.

He was born at Old Picacho, New Mexico, the fourth of seven children, and was raised on a small farm near Mesilla, New Mexico. He graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1972. That fall, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado where he received a B.A. degree in Humaniti
More about Benjamin Alire Sáenz...
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Last Night I Sang to the Monster Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club He Forgot to Say Goodbye Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood

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“People were wired to hell. He wanted to growl like a rabid mastiff when he heard someone say, "The body is a machine." What asshole thought of that? Screwed up and angry and wanting love, fucking desperate to get it and not knowing how to get it, and willing to do anything just to get a taste of it. Or worse, striking out because you couldn't get it-all that love you wanted. The body was not a machine. Machines and computers, he could deal with. There was always a solution for the problem.
What was the solution for him?”
“Maybe you're just in love with being an outsider. You can join the human race any time you want to."
"What makes you think I want to join? I live in the kind of world that looks at me like I'm some kind of freak. You know, when I told Dave I hadn't gone to college, he flinched. Just for a second. He was so surprised. I don't think he could believe a guy like me could be smart or articulate about anything-because I hadn't gone to college. Maybe it's better if people think you're stupid or slow. They don't expect anything. I live in a world that doesn't expect anything of me because it's already decided I don't matter.”
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