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Many notable authors, philosophers, poets, scientists and artists have written commentaries on the power of the night. In its shadows, people have found anxiety, comfort, inspiration and love, not to mention rest. What Phil Cousineau has brought together in Burning the Midnight Oil, The Long Night’s Journey Into Day are a variety of those commentaries from sources as diverse as Sappho, Raymond Chandler, Pythagoras, Mary Oliver and Ludwig von Beethoven. The quoted selections range in length from a few brief lines to whole segments of stories or memoirs.

“This squinting in the soul is of true vision, learning to see the invisible. For we strive always to see in the dark; we hope for light through poems and prayers; and we pay any cost to open a crack between the worlds if it means learning on new thing about ourselves. These night writers provide an antidote to the search for enlightenment, which is the daily discovery of endarkenment, an acknowledgement of our need for both light and darkness. Rather than grinching to us about what is missing in the day world, they are beguiling us about what can be found in the shadow-fretted night.”

Although each passage is about the night, none are dark or macabre, even the one from Edgar Allan Poe. Their gathered words share commonality and celebrate what night brings to us. The book is divided into five sections, taking the reader from twilight through the night and on to dawn. With a foreword by Jeff “The Dude” Dowd and writings by the author himself in each section, the reader has a wide and wonderful array of wise words on the subject of Night to ponder.

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