The End of the Night was a terrifying title to pick up before bed…yet it was exactly the kind of book that I needed.
While I decided to start from the beginning of the book, the index suggests that readers may work their way out: the first chapter one comes across is 9. From a Starry Night to a Streetlight. The chapters work their way down, ending with 1. The Darkest Places.
In a way, I can’t imagine having structured the book another way. Bogard’s goal is clear from the start: to find the darkest place in the world.
With beautiful prose, Bogard takes us on a journey to find this place. He writes,
“I have seen stars like this, but not often. And I wonder tonight at how rare this experience has become. While writing this book, I have often wondered how hard anyone should have to work to simply see a truly starry sky, to simply know a truly dark knight. In months of travel, getting outside every chance I could, I have had only a few nights like this one.”
Although the factual information is interesting, the emotional pull of the book is far stronger. In the 271 pages that complete the book, Bogard continually suggests that we’re missing a large part of our humanity—all because we rarely see true darkness. Bogard pushes this idea further, however, as he questions how much of the universe we miss simply because we can’t see it.
This book would make a wonderful gift or recommendation to anyone—young, old, environmental-minded or not.
Although the heavy use of anecdotes focused on Bogard’s experience in cities may become dry, the myriad quotes, both introducing and interspersed throughout each chapter, will be captivating enough.
As Bogard quotes, both at the beginning and end of the book:
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
And is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
~ Wendell Barry
I hope that every reader is able to find that star-studded sky, where she too can see the darkest dark.
Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?
Assistant Editor: Terri Tremblett/Editor: Bryonie Wise