Dusk and Ember

By Robert Jacoby

** Publication Date 15 May 2019**

Dusk and Ember tells the story of Richard Issych. A recent high school graduate who has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He is not one of the popular kids, or the jocks, or even the nerds. He is a kid who seems to live on the fringes. Richard’s belief is that he likely wouldn’t even be missed. He is also the middle child. So maybe, there’s a little bit of that middle child thing going on as well.

Beautifully written, Dusk and Ember tells Richard’s story of leaving high school and going to work in a foundry on the night shift. In the foundry he becomes a different Richard. He starts using drugs, some to keep him awake and some to help him sleep during the day. He hangs out with his coworkers, some who deal drugs and some who just take them. He loses himself in this world until something drastic happens to his coworker Melvin. That seems to snap Richard back to reality and the burning question of what next.

Robert Jacoby has crafted a beautifully written story. His descriptive skills are amazing and are what kept me reading. Mostly I believe it is the structure of the book, which flickers between the one night and all the events leading up to it. Also, Richard’s drug fueled imagination leaves the reader wondering what’s real and what isn’t. I reread the epilogue three times, and still am not sure how it ended. 

Perhaps it just wasn’t my kind of book, but this book left me confused. Or perhaps it is because this book is a prequel to another of Robert Jacoby’s works. No matter what, I finished this book more confused than I was in the middle. Yet, this novel is a beautiful display of writing, if not a bit too long. 

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