It is difficult to know where to begin in describing Catherine Banner’s truly excellent debut novel. Set on the Mediterranean island of Castellamare and covering almost one-hundred years, The House on the Edge of Night tells the story of four generations as they face world wars, economic collapse, fascism, and the advent of modernity. However, this novel is so much more than that. Night begins when a young doctor with no family arrives on the island in 1914 and begins collecting the stories of its inhabitants. Those stories open each part of the book, lending the character’s stories a mythic quality. As the lives of Esposito, his descendants, and the other islanders unfold over the next several decades, a sort of quiet magic envelops their lives and irresistibly draws the reader in. Furthermore, Banner masterfully imbues the lives of her characters with a sense of continuity in the bonds of family and friendship through the generations despite the hardships they face. Overall, Night is an absolute delight for the reader and should not be missed.
(Reviewed for Seattle Book Review.)