In M.J. Hyland's debut novel, How The Light Gets In, sixteen year old Lou Connor comes to America as an exchange student hoping to trade in her shame-invoking family and poverty for the American Dream. She's placed in the home of the Hardings, a seemingly nice family on the surface, but who harbor dysfunctions of their own. Lou is precocious, intelligent, socially awkward and need of alcohol to loosen her up. The harder she tries to fit in with the Hardings, the more she messes up. What she craves more than anything, to live in an ordinary home, where the sheets are clean and she is loved, eludes her.
I loved the book. Full of over-the-top images, humor, and wisdom it engaged me throughout. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. I could argue for it and I could argue against it. But I wouldn't argue about reading this novel a second time.
- Originally from Vermont, I now live in North Carolina. My work can be found in recent issues of REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters, The Jabberwock Review, The Emerson Review, Storyglossia, The MacGuffin, Confrontation, Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, elimae, wigleaf, and Pank, among others, and forthcoming from Gargoyle #57 and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters. One of my stories has been translated into Farsi by Asadollah Amraee, and many others by Jalil Jafari, two of which have been published in the Iranian journal, Golestaneh Magazine. For two years I worked as an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. Currently, I serve as a mentor for Dzanc's Creative Writing Sessions. I'm working on two novels and a short story collection. In May, I was awarded the Carol Houck Smith Contributor Scholarship for the 2011 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.