When 36-year old Emily’s abusive husband walked towards her, she stabbed him with a pair of scissors, locked herself in the bathroom, and listened to him wander around their home for an hour before he died. Despite little supporting evidence Rachel’s job is to convince twelve good men and women that Emily’s overreaction was a result of battered women’s syndrome. In chasing the high of saving Emily, Rachel compromises her physical and mental health, eventually prompting a leave of absence to volunteer with Sandanistas in the deadly Nicaraguan tropics. Confronted with life on its simplest, most fundamental terms, Rachel must examine herself inside and out, to indeed walk to the “furthest city light” and see if she has what it takes to survive.
Winer’s title is derived from the Robert Frost poem, “Acquainted With The Night”. Like the great American poet, Winer is spare and unsentimental. There is no grandstanding in her novel or hammering of messages, merely the unflinching tale of a woman working hard to find herself before she loses everything dear. Like a Frost poem, her story is complicated yet told with deceptive skill and simplicity.