Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

The Lost Night  

A powerful document on loss, reconciliation, and the slippery nature of memory

Wednesday, Jul 26 2006
Comments
By Rachel Howard

Plume (June), $15

Rachel Howard's memoir opens with a murder — her father's. It's 3:30 in the morning, Rachel is 10 years old, and her dad is in his bedroom, holding his throat, which has been pierced with a knife from their kitchen. It's a gripping opening, proposing a tale in the true-crime vein, in which violence leads to a perpetrator and ultimate courtroom justice. But 20 years later, the murder remains unsolved. The Lost Night is not so much Howard's search for the truth as the exploration of her memories, of growing up in the Central Valley, of her father's loves, and of her extended family. In delicate though somewhat detached prose, Howard dips into her past like a stone skipping across water, uncovering events that seem at times only loosely linked to the murder. Later, the book itself becomes a subject, and her decision to write about her dad prompts her to visit her Merced hometown to confront her family and the detectives who worked on the case. Suspicion falls on Sherri, her dad's ex-wife, but she finds no satisfactory answers. Although Howard, who has worked as a reporter up and down the West Coast (including a stint at this paper), doesn't find the killer, she comes away with a better understanding of her father and her chaotic childhood, giving us a powerful document on loss, reconciliation, and the slippery nature of memory.

About The Author

Michael Leaverton

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"