Evening Light


158 pages
ISBN 1-895900-06-9
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by R. Gordon Moyles

R.G. Moyles is a professor of English at the University of Alberta and
the co-author of Imperial Dreams and Colonial Realities: British Views
of Canada, 1880–1914.


Evening Light marks a welcome return to the lyricism and naturalistic
perceptiveness of Harold Horwood’s first—and best—work, The Foxes
of Beachy Cove.

Less a novel than a panegyric, the book sketches the life story of
Jonathan Kirby, from his impressionable youth in Brigus, Newfoundland
(where he witnesses the end of the era of sailing ships), through his
career as an English professor, to his last (but not “declining”)
years as a grateful grandfather.

“One of the paradoxes of life,” Jonathan muses, “is that as your
remaining time on earth grows shorter, there is less and less hurry,
more and more opportunity to savour the pure magic of the world.” The
key to it all is love, “the thread that runs so true, that ties the
end and the beginning of life together.” To some readers, Jonathan’s
last reflections may seem banal—the positivist musings of an old and
wiser writer—but they ring true in the context of the novel.

As a novel, Evening Light has some weaknesses; as a hymn to life, it is
both powerful and refreshing.


Horwood, Harold., “Evening Light,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/3980.