Night Falls Like Silk
Night Falls Like Silk is the sequel to Kathleen Eagle’s The Night Remembers. I haven’t read the earlier book, and if this one is any indication, I don’t really want to – even though I’ve enjoyed the author in the past. Night Falls Like Silk is – well, it’s not very clear. It’s misty. It’s diffuse. I felt at times like I was reading the words through a silk veil. I did not connect with the characters at all, and the story moved in fits and starts. Since a large part of the story involves the kidnapping of a child, I expected to be very engaged with the story, but I wasn’t.
Thomas Brown Wolf, aka Thomas Warrior, aka Tommy T., aka Tom, is the adopted son of Jesse Brown Wolf and his wife Angela (The Night Remembers). Thomas and Jesse have been estranged ever since Jesse arrested Thomas’s brother Stoney for drugs. A talented artist, Thomas has moved from comic strips to graphic novels and is poised to break out into superstardom. One day at an auction he bids for some Lakota ledger drawings against art dealer Cassandra Finley.
Cassandra is the widow, and former trophy wife of a rich older man. She’s always been a sensible sort, unlike her flighty and promiscuous sister Darcy. She and Thomas talk after the auction and she offers to let him come see the drawings. The two are attracted, but are polar opposites. She’s rich – he’s not. She’s ten years older. She’s also white while he’s half Black, half American Indian. But they soon begin a passionate affair and their lives become even more entwined when Thomas mentors Cassandra’s talented but outcast nephew Aaron. When Aaron is kidnapped and the Lakota ledger drawings disappear, it looks like the kidnapper and the thief may be the same person.
I was lost in a sea of words and images as I read this book – and not lost in the sense that I was immersed in the story. It was more like I was trying to hike a trail and kept getting lost in the thickets of prose. Kathleen Eagle’s writing style is pretty, but in this book it wandered so much that I still am wondering what happened. There are a few places where I laughed when I probably wasn’t supposed to (at one point in a love scene Eagle used the phrase “crowing cock,” and I had to leave the cafeteria because I was laughing so hard.)
It’s not as though I did not like Thomas or Cassandra – I simply never felt like I knew them. The more I read, the more distant they became. The same was true of all the other characters in the book: they were all distant and cold. The only exception is Cassandra’s nephew, Aaron. He is a talented artist, but a social misfit – he is overweight and has no friends. He has been prowling in the dark recesses of the Internet, behavior that goes along with his dark drawing style. Thomas talks to him about the dangers of surfing the ‘Net, and after he is kidnapped, Cassandra blames herself for giving him the computer, but the kidnapping really has nothing to do with cyberspace. Several story threads are like that: they seem to lead somewhere, only to stop dead or veer off in a totally different direction. The identity of the kidnapper is apparent from the beginning, but as to his motive – well, I’m just not sure.
I wanted to like this book. I have read several of Kathleen Eagle’s books and enjoyed them very much. But Night Falls Like Silk was so cool, so remote, and so distant a book that I felt like I needed a cup of hot tea to warm me up after I finished it.