Bryan's Reviews > The Color of Night

The Color of Night by Madison Smartt Bell
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's review
Jun 16, 2011

really liked it
Read from June 11 to 16, 2011

Wondering around the desert at night with a rifle, being possessed by pagan gods, ritual sex murder - ya’ know feel-good-summer-time stuff - I knew this book was up my alley.

The Color of Night is actually a sophisticated and literate What If... story. What if two Manson girls got away unnoticed and lived on divergent paths until 9/11. One segued back into normalcy. While the other... yeah, that whole in the desert with a gun deal. The psychic wound of 9/11 tosses our gun-toting hermit back into the mental world she inhabited during her time with the Summer of “Love” Debased cultus. (Something's wrong here, in a lot of ways.) So then she seeks her long forgotten other half. This has best ending of any novel I have read since Drop City.

Though not pitch perfect, the book does link the collective scars of the Manson murders and 9/11 as turning points in popular consciousness. With equal dollops of sex, horror, ancient deities, and Americana, The Color of Night is everything I hoped Neil Gaiman's post-comics fiction would have become instead of the children's stories which have made him famous.

Devil's Dream just got bumped to the top of my to-read list.
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