“Light is neutral and indifferent. It can blind as well as reveal. It can save someone who wanders too close to an unseen edge, but it can just as easily betray a person cowering in a hidden place….”
So thinks Matthew Bowles, as he stares out his Paris window at the sun sparkling off a tiny fountain in the place du Dublin in the 8th arrondissement. Matthew, a traumatized war correspondent, has fled to the anonymity of Paris after himself becoming an international story for a failed act of heroism. He has been offered a book contract, but the ghosts of his past threaten to overtake him as he struggles to write his memoirs.
In a city of refugees, Matthew is a refugee from reality, as homeless as those whose shattered lives he records. Matthew resurrects a friendship with Jack Saddler—Vietnam vet, ex-mercenary and sometime combat photographer—and is drawn into Jack’s world of shadowy bars, calculating lovers and booze-fuelled nights of forgetting.
But he is also befriended by Saida, the beautiful, scarred woman who fled Lebanon with her family and now runs a café on the place du Dublin. Matthew is drawn in by her kindness and her fierce love for Joseph, her sixteen-year-old son, who is growing into manhood on the treacherous streets of the North African quarter.
This is Paris far from the glimmer of tourist lights. It is here that secrets are divulged, guilt and passion are revealed, and Matthew is caught up in an inescapable final confrontation.
Shining light into the no-man’s-land of war zones, Paris’s unseen quarters, and the darkest corners of the human mind and heart, Lauren B. Davis delivers a novel of astonishing depth and power. The Radiant City is the story of a man rediscovering his humanity and the necessity of participating in life rather than simply observing it.