Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"A Fierce Radiance"

Lauren Belfer's debut novel, City of Light, was a New York Times bestseller, as well as a #1 Book Sense pick, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award nominee, a New York Times Notable Book, a Library Journal Best Book, and a Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. City of Light was a bestseller in Great Britain and has been translated into seven languages.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, A Fierce Radiance, and reported the following:
When I first heard about the Page 69 Test, I have to admit – I was skeptical. What could one page, out of 527, possibly show about my novel as a whole? But when I checked Page 69 of A Fierce Radiance, I was shocked. Page 69 encapsulates everything the novel is about – love, passion, life, death, medicine, the pressures of war...everything is there, except for robber barons and espionage, but they’re just around the corner.

On Page 69 of A Fierce Radiance, the two main characters, Claire Shipley, a photojournalist with Life Magazine, and Dr. James Stanton, a physician/researcher, find their first opportunity to speak privately. Claire has been sent to New York’s Rockefeller Institute to report on the testing of a miraculous new drug on a man who’s close to death from a blood infection that resulted from a scratch on the knee. The story carries deep personal meaning for Claire, because her own daughter died at age 3 of a blood infection, and this miraculous new drug – penicillin – probably would have saved her life. Dr. Stanton has spent almost two decades treating infectious diseases, trying to save the lives of his patients but having few medicines to help him – until now.

Claire and James have been alert to one another during the previous days as the story unfolded around them. On Page 69, as the patient who has brought them together lies gravely ill, they take their first tentative steps toward one another. Here is an excerpt from Page 69:
He decided that when this experiment was complete and the notes were compiled, he would ask Claire Shipley to dinner. Despite death looming before them, life continued. Love, hate, friendship, all of it continued. Countless other patients would arrive here by ambulance. Someday, one of them would be cured. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he knew this was true. One of them would be cured and would walk out the hospital doorway, onto the path under the arching trees, past the fountains and the birdbaths, through the stone gates and into the city’s teeming, rushing splendor.
Read an excerpt from A Fierce Radiance, and learn more about the book and author at Lauren Belfer's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue