Saul, Jamie M.
Saul, Jamie M.
PERSONAL: Born in New York, NY; married. Education: Indiana State University, bachelor's degree.
AWARDS, HONORS: Scholarship to Bread Loaf Writers' Conference; Pointer fellowship, Yale University.
The Light of Day (fiction), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
Short stories have appeared in Calypso Literary Journal; contributor to periodicals, including People and Playboy. Author of screenplays for television dramas.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel featuring a love story.
SIDELIGHTS: When Jamie M. Saul set out to write his first novel, The Light of Day, he had another story in mind, but soon found himself drawn to the minor character of a teenage boy who commits suicide. "The more I explored what I thought I was going to write, the more interested I became in that teenage boy," Saul told Tom Bouman in an interview for Publishers Weekly. "I had some idea why he did it, but I didn't have all the nuts and bolts of it—there would have been a moral dilemma for him." In the novel, divorced, small-town college professor Jack Owens must learn to cope with the suicide of his son, Danny. Jack's wife had essentially deserted the family, and Jack was raising Danny on his own. The novel focuses on Jack's efforts to figure out why his son decided to end his life and, in the process, to find some meaning for his own life. "The chapters that follow are heartbreakingly realistic and completely riveting," wrote Lourdes Orive for Bookreporter.com. "As Jack spirals through layers of grief and despair,… Saul deftly slides between his painful day-to-day coping and flashbacks of earlier times spent with Danny and Danny's mother." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel "a debut with enormous depth of characterization and sympathy," while Robin Nesbitt, writing in Library Journal, deemed the novel "a powerful look at memory, family, and unexpected tragedy." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "Saul's excellent debut features a grim and compelling narrative marked by individual scenes that feel forceful and dynamic."
Saul told CA: "I really don't know why I became a writer except that I loved to read from an early age and from that sprung an enjoyment of self-expression. My influences are wide and varied, from Robert Penn Warren, Ring Lardner, and F. Scott Fitzgerald to the Marx Brothers, Billy Wilder, Alain Resnais, and Marcel Duchamp."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2005, review of The Light of Day, p. 313.
Library Journal, April 15, 2005, Robin Nesbitt, review of The Light of Day, p. 78.
Publishers Weekly, April 25, 2005, review of The Light of Day, p. 40, April 25, 2005, Tom Bouman, "Where in Darkness Lies" (interview), p. 38.
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (August 21, 2005), Lourdes Orive, review of The Light of Day.
Curled up with a Good Book, http://www.curledup.com/ (August 21, 2005), Marie Hashima Lofton, review of The Light of Day.