Critically acclaimed author Michael Parker, in a novel that promises to be his breakout book, tells the searing and unforgettable story of Earl and the cost of one bad decision that irrevocably changes the course of his life.
Beginning in the 1970s in Carthage, Texas, I Am the Light of This World follows the story of Earl, a seventeen-year-old boy who comes from a poor family and is an outsider, a dreamer, a reader, a lover of music. He meets Tina, a new girl in town who is living with her aunt, and she convinces him to drive her to visit her mother in Austin. But as the night gets going and gets out of control, Earl loses track of what is happening and Tina disappears. Two days later, when Earl comes to, he’s being questioned: Tina is gone, and there is blood in the trunk of his car. Since he can’t remember what happened, and since his family has no money to post bail or hire a decent lawyer, Earl goes to prison for a murder he did not commit.
When he is released forty years later, Earl moves to the Oregon coast, trying to navigate a world that has changed radically in his absence. He is lucky enough to find goodhearted people, and he tries to have the life he was never given. But just as things are starting to fall into place, his past is discovered.
I Am the Light of This World is a page-turning look both at the arc of a life, and of how to come to peace with one's past.