Lauren Cress has been drifting through life for the 10 years since she became an orphan. Her relationships with men are often perfunctory. She’s slow to open up to her colleagues at the college where she works as an adjunct instructor, teaching writing to international students. But in the classroom, Lauren comes to life. She’s a dazzling teacher who connects with her students, even when they don’t understand why they’re required to write personal essays.
“Knowing how to express yourself to one another in real ways . . . it can help with loneliness and distance,” Lauren explains.
Lauren’s insatiable but hidden desire to be known and understood thrusts her into an all-consuming friendship with Siri Bergström, a student from Sweden. Siri also knows the pain of losing a parent; her mother died when Siri was 5, though no one knows exactly how. When Siri invites Lauren to come home to Sweden with her, Lauren dives headfirst into the friendship, though she knows it’s unwise.
As the Swedish summer celebration of Midsommar draws near, Lauren finds herself swimming in the complexities of her relationships with Siri and the friends and siblings who welcome her. But when her friendship with Siri threatens to unravel, Lauren withdraws into herself, blocking out all signs of life around her.
In The All-Night Sun, author Diane Zinna displays her deep understanding of the writing craft, born in part of her experience as a creative writing teacher and former executive co–director at AWP, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. Her stunning debut novel is a twisting tale of grief, hope and self-deceit, a story as mesmerizing as the young women at its heart.