Justin Kurian ’94 has published his first novel, The Sunlight Lies Beyond (Regent Press), whose protagonist John Arden, a disillusioned American from a Wall Street background, lives in Romania in 1992, a country in transition three years after the collapse of the Communist regime. His life becomes entangled with various people caught in a tumultuous world, among them actors at the National Opera and a talented, ambitious businesswoman who is repressed by society. Arden finds that if he can successfully confront the tribulations ahead, he may possibly vanquish his inner demons.
Kurian recently shared some thoughts about working on the book:
“I had written short stories and creative works that had been very well received, but I had yet to write a novel. I had set very high standards for myself in terms of craftsmanship, and I felt I was prepared to reach these standards. I was excited about the writing style I had honed and achieved, and was ready to express it in the novel form.
“While I lived in Romania, I encountered an excellent setting for a novel. The society was undergoing a very difficult change. In 1989 Romania escaped Communism, but the struggle to move to a free market economy was not as easy as many had hoped. What fascinated me, though, was not necessarily the technical difficulties of this sort of transformation, but the resistance of some of the people in the society to this change. Any change is usually met with resistance, whether this change is overall for the better of society or not. This is due to a variety of factors that are explored within the book.”