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Books

Black Cat
Black Cat
Black Cat
NEW!

Blue Light Hours

by Bruna Dantas Lobato

One of Electric Literature’s “75 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2024”

From the National Book Award-winning translator, an atmospheric and wise debut novel of a young Brazilian woman’s first year in America, a continent away from her lonely mother, and the relationship they build over Skype calls across borders

“Utterly beautiful . . . The yearning in these pages will haunt me.”—Ayşegül Savaş, author of White on White

  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Page Count 192
  • Publication Date October 15, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6377-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Publication Date October 15, 2024
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6393-6
  • US List Price $17.00

In a small dorm room at a liberal arts college in Vermont, a young woman settles into the warm blue light of her desk lamp before calling the mother she left behind in northeastern Brazil. Four thousand miles apart and bound by the angular confines of a Skype window, they ask each other a simple question: what’s the news?

Offscreen, little about their lives seems newsworthy. The daughter writes her papers in the library at midnight, eats in the dining hall with the other international students, and raises her hand in class to speak in a language the mother cannot understand. The mother meanwhile preoccupies herself with natural disasters, her increasingly poor health, and the heartbreaking possibility that her daughter might not return to the apartment where they have always lived together. Yet in the blue glow of their computers, the two women develop new rituals of intimacy and caretaking, from drinking whiskey together in the middle of the night to keeping watch as one slides into sleep. As the warm colors of New England autumn fade into an endless winter snow, each realizes that the promise of spring might mean difficult endings rather than hopeful beginnings.

Expanded from a story originally published in The New Yorker, and in elegant prose that recalls the work of Sigrid Nunez, Katie Kitamura, and Rachel Khong, Bruna Dantas Lobato paints a powerful portrait of a mother and a daughter coming of age together and apart and explores the profound sacrifices and freedoms that come with leaving a home to make a new one somewhere else.

Praise for Blue Light Hours:

Named One of Electric Literature’s “75 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2024”

“An astonishingly beautiful novel, full of longing and love. I’ve never read a mother-daughter story this tenderhearted. It’s a revelation.”—Jenny Offill, New York Times bestselling author of Weather

Blue Light Hours is a spellbinding meditation on distance and intimacy, holding close and letting go. In attentive linguistic brush strokes, Bruna Dantas Lobato offers a tender and dynamic portrait of the mutual care between a mother and a daughter as they navigate life apart. Resplendent.”—Tess Gunty, author of The Rabbit Hutch, winner of the National Book Award

“Reading Blue Light Hours, I found myself first pensive, then intrigued, then wildly moved and completely captured. You won’t regret any time spent with Bruna Dantas Lobato’s delicate and wise constructed universe of connection, of loss, of the immigrant’s privations, of radiant love.”—Sarah Thankam Mathews, author of All This Could Be Different, finalist for the National Book Award

“Out of a maelstrom of daunting themes—including migration, illness, and single parenthood—sails this quiet and utterly beautiful novel of daughterly devotion. At once an ode to family and a paean to independence, Blue Light Hours renders the private textures of digital intimacy with more subtlety and tenderness than any other book I can think of.”—Maggie Millner, author of Couplets

Blue Light Hours is a melancholy, strange, and love-suffused book, exploring a relationship through a medium that connected families around the world long before the Zoom era. Through Skype, a mother and daughter a continent apart create a dreamlike, almost womblike space, wrestling an uncanny closeness from a distance of thousands of miles. A quietly beautiful coming-of-age story that never loses sight of the people who come along—or don’t—for the transformation wrought by time and distance.”—Lydia Kiesling, author of Mobility

“At times, reading this utterly beautiful book, I thought I could not bear the tenderness of it. Bruna Dantas Lobato has written an aching portrait of the mother and child bond, with all its love and sadness, with such wisdom and capacious humanity. The yearning in these pages will haunt me.”—Ayşegül Savaş, author of White on White

“Bruna Dantas Lobato is one of those examples with which we are gratifyingly reassured that the future of literature is bright indeed.”—Rick Moody

Author Tour Dates

Thursday

10/10

Grinnell, IA

GRINNELL COLLEGE

Reading and reception

Event info here

4:15 PM
Thursday

10/17

New York, NY

NYU LILLIAN VERNON CREATIVE WRITERS HOUSE

Reading

58 W 10th St

7:00 PM
Tuesday

10/22

New York, NY

MCNALLY JACKSON SEAPORT

In conversation with Sarah Thankam Mathews

4 Fulton St

6:30 PM
Friday

10/25

Milwaukee, WI

ALTA CONFERENCE

Oct. 25-27

Time TK