By: Brett Shapiro
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: October 21, 2022
Review Date: September 19, 2022
Brett Shapiro delivers a heartfelt read by uniting three unsuspecting souls in his latest novel, Late in the Day.
Hank Bauer is recently widowed and cannot get beyond the passing of his beloved Marilyn. They were a family unit for so many years, but he doesn’t spend much time with their two sons, Jonathan, and Matthew, anymore. They have their own lives now. He spends his days on a regimented schedule of rising with the sun and takes his daily constitutional walk on the beach before people arrive. It’s difficult to ‘be’ now that Marilyn is gone. It was much easier when they could share their days with each other. The silence is deafening, and Hank has settled into the false comfort of existence versus living.
Seth Erlich is reinventing his life. After more than two decades of spending his life with Yoni; a man he thought would be his life partner, he calls it quits. Yoni was everything Seth imagined who could make life complete. If Seth could be honest with himself, he would admit the streets of New York had been closing in on him for a while. And his relationship with Yoni had also been in a slow decline for quite a few years before he finally made the decision to leave. Seth didn’t want to end the relationship with his life partner Yoni. Rather, it was an inevitability that it was time. A drastic change of scenery was in order and Seth leaves the familiarity of his New York stomping grounds and heads south to Florida where he welcomes a new companion in the form of a dog. At least the two can spend quality time with each other as they take those daily (and meaningful) walks along the beach at sunrise.
Honey Cavanaugh is a homemaker, and she is married to Glen. In the early years of their marriage, Honey would reflect on how fortunate for her that the school jock chose her. She wasn’t necessarily the ‘plain Jane,’ but she certainly wasn’t the head cheerleader. Back in those days, Glen was quite the catch with his buffed body and popularity. How did they arrive at the place where they are now? Why does Glen want to do nothing but sit in his recliner, watch television, and eat? How is it that he cannot see he carries way too much weight? They used to be intimate daily, and the sheer notion of intimacy is more than a distant memory. Honey loves the beach and specifically loves to capture the magnificent sunrises through her camera’s eye. The one thing Hank, Seth, and Honey all have in common is their daily connection with the beach of Atlantique, Florida: close to where the three live. Little did they know, this factor was merely the beginning of what would unfold as time marched forward.
Brett Shapiro has done a masterful job of marrying the stand-alone lives of three people who would eventually merge together into a wonderful journey of life itself. He has an exceptional vision when it comes to setting a scene that opens the door wide for his audience to cross the threshold and formulate the picture: "...The neighborhood was a safe one, not like the older beachside neighborhoods of Atlantique whose residents had picked up bungalows for a song back in the day so they could spend their days surfing and have a shelter to return to, without paying attention to the upkeep that would be required when their roof started to leak or their windows spawned hairline cracks from seasons of hurricanes. The residents of those neighborhoods got by with word-of-mouth yard work, car repair, plumbing emergencies...” He assigns a relatable voice to the narrator of the story that is akin to sitting and having a long afternoon chat with someone one has known most of their life. The life’s challenges among characters Hank, Honey, and Seth are credible and relatable and I applaud Mr. Shapiro for not pouring unnecessary embellishment on top of characters that work beautifully on just being believable, everyday people. This book is a terrific account of those of us who have arrived at that point in life where our children are grown and gone; we are retired (or about to retire) along with experiencing the loss of a loved one (or more). Well done Mr. Shapiro! This was a very captivating read.
Quill says: Late in the Day is a testament to the notion that life is meant to be embraced to its fullest every day!