What Happens at Night
by Peter Cameron
Catapult. 320 pages, $26.
WE’VE ALL come across people who say they don’t like fiction because it doesn’t teach them anything. I contend that a person could read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica website and not learn as much about human nature as they would by reading an especially fine novel, such as Peter Cameron’s What Happens at Night.
Even though much of this novel takes place in an unnamed land with unnamed characters, some of whom interact with others who may not even be alive, Cameron continues to enlighten us with plausible real-life situations. There is a deep darkness to be penetrated in this tale. But the main male character, who spends much time immersed in such darkness, manages to say at one point: “It amazes me, how things have a way of working themselves out, if you just persist.” Later he adds, prophetically (if a bit Pollyannaishly) that “things don’t always end badly.” Take that as your cue to keep reading.
David Masello, a widely published essayist, poet, and playwright, lives in New York City.