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The Valley of Light

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  336 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
1948 sunny summer, Noah Locke spends a week in Bowerstown, North Carolina, bordered by lakes, in the Valley of Light. A quiet, simple war veteran, Noah has a mystical gift for fishing, yet remains haunted by Dachau terrors. Eleanor Cunningham is a widow whose husband supposedly killed himself at home after WW2. After a miracle, Noah comes home at last.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 5th 2004 by Washington Square Press (first published 2003)
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Jun 11, 2009 booklady rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a sweet story
I was sad and satisfied to reach the last page: sad to leave behind new friends; satisfied with the way the story ended. The Valley of Light is both the novel’s title and nostalgic setting; the Hiawassee River running through a little valley in post-World War II North Carolina.

It’s a quiet story involving a drifter fisherman who comes in search of a certain lake and a particular fish. In the process, he provides the catalyst for mystery and change. Who is this Noah Locke? What does he really wa
Feb 08, 2009 Barbara rated it really liked it
Recommended to Barbara by: TV!
Shelves: general-fiction
Wow! This is a beautifully told story; one of those stories where nothing seems to happen in a big way but things change, people grow and learn and continue their life journey. A young wandering man, carries his fishing pole and his memories of WW2 into a small Southern community in the late 1940s. Very mellow in tone, like late summer sunshine and long shadows, and if you're willing to just sink into it, you'll be quietly rewarded.

This is the first I've read of Terry Kay; he's very good with s
May 23, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing
It is always a sweet surprise to pick up a book in the bargain bin and have it turn out to be a jewel. I felt that way about this novel. The author writes in such a beautiful, lyrical way that just feels calm, yet rich in his descriptions of thoughts and feelings. A sample passage: "She did not have friends. Not really. She knew people, but she did not have friends. Not the kinds of friends who left little pieces of themselves with her after a visit, little peices of laughter and noisy talk scat ...more
Mart Martin
Aug 05, 2016 Mart Martin rated it really liked it
Jayber Crow, meet Noah Locke. You two could be best friends ... Reading a few chapters of this book was a perfect way to end my day because the Valley of Light was such a familiar and comfortable place ... And I sat with the last few pages for quite some time.
Jul 15, 2010 Russ rated it it was amazing
I discovered Terry Kay at the Blue Ridge Community College BookFest. He pre-dates Ron Rash, Charles Frazier and Bob Inman in writing about mid-century southern life. I read The Valley of Light in less than 24 hours. I couldn't put it down. Kay's writing has been likened to poetry disguised as prose and I agree 100%. The story had a spiritual quality for me. Was Hoke a ghost? Was Noah an angel? It ended with more questions... Will Noah reunite with his brother? Will he ever return to the valley? ...more
E. Ce Miller
Aug 17, 2015 E. Ce Miller rated it liked it
Terry Kay’s The Valley of Light tells the story of World War II veteran Noah Locke, who arrives in Bowerstown, North Carolina, as part of his ‘round-the-country wanderings in the wake of his return from war. Within Bowerstown rests the Valley of Light — a mountainous region of the United States where people’s families have known one another for generations, and ghosts haunt the woodlands. Noah arrives on the eve of a renowned fishing competition, and after his fishing prowess is proven, he is en ...more
Diane Niksa
Oct 25, 2015 Diane Niksa rated it really liked it
Calm and peaceful story that unfolds at it's own pace. Easily immersed into the tone and setting of the small town and lives the drifter touched.
Feb 23, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, southern-lit
Terry Kay, The Valley of Light (New York: Washington Square Press, 2003) 239 pages

Three years after the end of World War II, a drifter is walking across the Southeast, traveling from one fishing hole to another. Noah Lockeâs gift is for fishing. Heâd served in the Army during the war and was at the liberation of Dachau. In his travels, an old man tells him about the âœValley of Lightâ and the large bass that resides in a lake there. Noah discovers the lake near the small community of Bowerstown
Nancy Rossman
Aug 13, 2012 Nancy Rossman rated it liked it
Terry Kay is such a masterful Southern storyteller. I loved, loved To Dance with the White Dog so I had high expectations. This doesn't get there. Nothing really happens in the whole book. I was more than disappointed. Two or three characters are rich, no real tension, no resolution, and then it just drifts away...the end.
Jul 19, 2013 Tracy rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, book-club
Patience. Maybe patience and persistence. This book takes its time to tell the tale and I'm unaccustomed to stories flowing so very slowly and deliberately. I do love the tone and feeling of the book and appreciate that Terry Kay has written a wonderful story about "my" people and my south. I like that this book keeps calling me back and I'm usually pleasantly surprised by what I find in the pages. It's not flashy, sexy, or thrilling, just a quiet book with a great story to tell.

"The fact i
Sep 15, 2014 Vickie rated it it was amazing
I am always in awe after finishing a Terry Kay novel. In a review, someone stated "Terry Kay disguises poetry as prose". The story of Noah Locke, a wandering fisherman, that had magical powers when it came to fishing. He would lay his hand over the water and hundreds of minnows would flock to the area . Noah meets Hoke Moore, a fisherman as well, who directs him to "The Valley of Light" an area near the Chatuge lake and the Hiawassee River. Noah is a man of few words and a bit bruised after retu ...more
Dec 28, 2013 Brenda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Actually, I would rate it 3.5. I really enjoyed the writing style of this author and the picture that he painted of Noah and the residents of the Valley of Light. I wasn't sure what to expect of another book about fishing since recently finishing "The River Why" and not enjoying it too much. This was a much better book that included fishing. The characters were filled out and the imagery of the area was beautiful. I would however knock off a half point because of the ending. I'm not sure I under ...more
Jan 12, 2016 Pat rated it it was amazing
I loved To dance with the White Dog but I may love The Valley of Light more. Author Terry Kay weaves mysticism and a deep sense of place into these stories. He draws the characters so adeptly and truly, picturing the best and worst qualities of good people in small towns. He captures the cadence rhythm of small town life , as well. So easily, Kay paints an almost "sensual" depiction of the valley's natural beauty. While exploring large issues of loss, grief, and deception, he leaves the reader w ...more
Maggie Shanley
Oct 25, 2015 Maggie Shanley rated it really liked it
When I started this book I believed it was going to be a war and recovery story, instead it turned into a mystical fishing story. I love stories about characters who meander and are good souls.
Jennifer Morefield
Mar 15, 2015 Jennifer Morefield rated it it was amazing
This was a very well written story. It reminded me of Wilson Rawls who wrote where The Red Fern Grows. Terry Kay is an excellent story teller.
Apr 14, 2015 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2007
post WWII, fishing, retarded boy, suicide, strength of country folks
Sierra Michaels
Jul 26, 2016 Sierra Michaels rated it liked it
Nice setting and simple southern characters. The story was sweet but a bit slow for my taste. That being said, I think if you like that pace then Terry does an excellent job and it's well written.
Aug 14, 2013 Myra rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. So, I read this title for a book club, and it's not a book I would have picked up on my own. And a friend in the book club warned me that it was boring. Tediously dull. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. The writing is beautiful and the characters are fascinating. No, not a whole lot happens, but just enough to keep it interesting. I was a bit disappointed in something that didn't happen at the end, but the more I reflect, the more I believe that the path the author chose is ac ...more
Oct 04, 2012 Clacie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: any one who likes magical-realism
Recommended to Clacie by: Nancy Rossman
I loved this book but I'm finding it hard to put into words the reason why. The simplicity I suppose. The quiet man Noah with an ability that could only be described as magical. There was not a single moment I didn't enjoy. I love an author who can write magical realism in a way that seems so real. Terry Kay definitely did in The Valley of Light. The author narration was impressive. His tone & Johnny Cash like sound made the story very easy to listen to. Thanks Nancy R. for the recommendatio ...more
Oct 20, 2014 Hannah rated it it was amazing
great writer!
Mar 29, 2011 KathyJ rated it liked it
Rather slow, but perhaps reflective of the rural south in the post-World War II years. WWII veteran Noah is a likeable protagonist, despite his lack of education and very quiet personality. A man of few words, for sure. I found myself LIKING this story for several reasons -- for the well drawn portrait of southern life at the time, for the interesting fishing lore, for the diverse characters, and for Kay's deft writing. Well worth the read.
Bruth George
Mar 02, 2016 Bruth George rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fishing
a look at a man who might have been considered retarded but who is redeemed by his exceptional skill as a fisherman
Jan 15, 2008 Malcolm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelf-of-wonders
A soldier who returns home from the World War II and ends up in a small town where he does odd jobs including catching fish for the local market. He has a great talent, for he can touch the water and sense the fish. He plans to stay for a couple of days, a week maybe, but begins finding it hard to leave. A great fishing story and a whole lot more.
Jul 10, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The words flow like a river on a calm summer afternoon. After finishing the story I opened it again and again for the pleasing flavor of most any passage.

Still there is a problem I can't quite put my finger on. Many beauties of this tale float like leaves of crimson and gold on the surface of the river -- but wait, isn't it summer?

Jan 17, 2009 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Noah Locke arrives in a small town in NC. A quiet simple man, war vet (WWII) with a mystical gift for fishing. He is haunted by the war and his only sibling in jail. He wanders doing odd jobs and fishing. He meets a young widow. He is brought into the lives of the people in this "Valley of Light" and learns why he was sent here.
Apr 16, 2009 Debbie rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. I visited the south every year as a kid and knew the South was a world of its own. Terry Kay captured the southern vernacular and brought back memories of those yearly visits. He has an easy flow to his writing, making an enjoyable read. I would especially recommend this novel to anyone who loves fishing!
Kelly Delph
Feb 16, 2016 Kelly Delph rated it liked it
I like Terry Kay. They are books of the mind.
Scott Bischke
Mar 28, 2012 Scott Bischke rated it it was amazing
A simply beautiful book. Terry Kay has quickly injected himself onto my top 3 contemporary fiction writer list. Wonderful, skilled, smart writing, compelling characters, and a plot so interesting it doesn't require a bunch of murder and dismemberment to be "interesting".
Robin Hitchcock
Jul 24, 2016 Robin Hitchcock rated it really liked it
Wonderfully written story and great characters. I was a little disappointed by the ending but still worth reading.
Cecilia McCole
Oct 21, 2013 Cecilia McCole rated it liked it
This doesn't gallop but meanders along in a pace which fits the setting. the main character keeps you reading but as you go along - it is the people you meet who you want to follow also. A nice easy read for vacation or time alone.
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TERRY KAY, a 2006 inductee into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, is the author of The Book of Marie, recently released by Mercer University Press. Kay has been a sports writer and film/theater reviewer (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), a public relations executive, and a corporate officer. He is the author of nine other published novels, including To Dance with the White Dog, The Valley of Light, T ...more
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