Mesmerizing and Completely Worth the Read | Review: The All-Night Sun by Diane Zinna

3:55 PM

Did I request The All-Night Sun solely because of its stunning cover art's aesthetic? Yes. But, boy, oh boy,  you guys: this book was fantastic and so much more than I expected.

The All-Night Sun
by Diane Zinna 

A lonely young woman gets too close to her charismatic female student in this propulsive debut, culminating in a dangerously debauched Midsommar’s Eve.

“Memorable and meaningful.”—Claire Messud, New York Times bestselling author of The Burning Girl

Lauren Cress teaches writing at a small college outside of Washington, DC. In the classroom, she is poised, smart, and kind, well-liked by her students and colleagues. But in her personal life, Lauren is troubled and isolated, still grappling with the sudden death of her parents ten years earlier. She seems to exist at a remove from everyone around her until a new student joins her class: charming, magnetic Siri, who appears to be everything Lauren wishes she could be. They fall headlong into an all-consuming friendship that feels to Lauren like she is reclaiming her lost adolescence.

When Siri invites her along on a trip home to Sweden for the summer, Lauren impulsively accepts, intrigued by how Siri describes it: “Everything will be green, fresh, new, just thawing out.” But once there, Lauren finds herself drawn to Siri’s enigmatic, brooding brother Magnus. Siri is resentful, and Lauren starts to see a new side of her friend: selfish, reckless, self-destructive, even cruel. On the last night of her trip, Lauren accompanies Siri and her friends on a seaside camping trip to celebrate Midsommar’s Eve, a night when no one sleeps, boundaries blur, and under the light of the unsetting sun, things take a dark turn.

Ultimately Lauren must acknowledge the truth of what happened with Siri and come to terms with her own tragic past in this gorgeously written, deeply felt debut about the relationships that come to us when things feel darkest–and the transformative power of female friendship.

The All-Night Sun by Diane Zinna
Rating: ★★★
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the author or publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.    

I think this novel is tied with Queenie as my favourite in adult fiction this year.

No. I know it is. 

In terms of the story's tone, I found myself taken back to the first time I read The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Admittedly, there is very little to tie these stories together beyond the simple use of life's complexities told in retrospect and gorgeous writing. The All-Night Sun, still, held this electric charge of indulgence and enthralled me from the start in a similar way.

The kind of electricity that leaves you glassy eyed, wandering your day to day life with your attention focused mostly on processing everything you've just read. The All-Night Sun takes on this life at the back of your mind, humming in acknowledgment as you sip your coffee and do your routines. Echoes of it becomes a part of you.

Let me start by saying this: Diane Zinna's prose is, perhaps, one of my favourite literary finds of the year. The exploration of hazier memories, of lies and tragedy, of grief, is frankly gorgeous and bleak. To explain it in any sort of review would do very little justice to the actual experience. It feels like those memories we all have buried at the back of our minds. Complex. Undesirable. The shadows we've tried to avoid stepping into.

Not only is The All-Night Sun structured in a way that flows quickly, emotionally, and lively, the care in which Zinna put into her research and settings is something that feels almost otherworldly. To say it was merely impressive would feel false because it was so much more than that. Zinna shines in her lyrical tone, capturing readers in a way that will tug at their heartstrings for weeks. The All-Night Sun is a book you cannot miss.
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