>THE NIGHT BEFORE by award-winning writer David Fulmer is a story about years of broken dreams and mistakes culminating on one Christmas Eve. From the beginning, the reader knows that this Christmas Eve is special. Fulmer writes, “The storm began late in the afternoon after the sky had darkened from crystal blue to cobalt, delivering snow on Christmas Eve for the first time in seven years.”
The main character is a novelist named Joe Kelly. He is a good man, an excellent parent and loving husband. Yet, his writing career has been on the skids for several years. He has had rely on his wife’s lucrative salary to support their family. As Christmas approaches, he gets a small bit of luck: his book is optioned by Hollywood. With money in the bank, he buys his wife Mariel an antique piece of jewelry that she remembered from her childhood: an Epiphany Star. Coming home with his present in his pocket, he finds Mariel having a tryst on the dining room table with their neighbor Don.
Crushed, Joe runs into the night and embarks on a series adventures involving strangers and old forgotten friends.
Fulmer excels at creating sensually tactile stories. The reader feels soaked in his settings. In this novella, he captures that eternal yearning for old-fashioned Christmases that probably only existed in Hollywood movies. Yet, this isn’t a saccharine holiday story; it is a gritty tale of broken people who cling to hope in the bleak midwinter. The characters are complex and sympathetic in their failings. The reader even feels empathy for the cheating wife.
Fulmer’s writing is lyrical. Reading his works evokes the emotional response of listening to music.His words are almost poetic without being over-the-top.
I highly recommend this book if the shallow, over-commercialized tales of Christmas leave you empty and desiring something “real.”
reviewed by Susanna Ives