'Hidden Lights' burns with War, Wanderlust
"Like “civil war” and “sweet sorrow,” “historical novel” is an oxymoron. “Historical” describes matters old and factual, but “novel” means new and fictional.
No wonder the genre can be so slippery — for readers and writers alike. Too much of the past makes for a rote, lifeless read. But too much new and the story becomes fantasy.
Atlanta author Daren Wang succeeds at revealing startling new insights in an otherwise well-chronicled era with his debut, “The Hidden Light of Northern Fires.”The solemn and provocative historical novel attempts to answer a question that has vexed the author since childhood: Why did his hometown of Town Line, New York, vote in 1861 to secede from the United States?