Book Review of
The Beauty of Dusk
One morning in late 2017, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni woke up with strangely blurred vision. He wondered at first if some goo or gunk had worked its way into his right eye. But this was no fleeting annoyance, no fixable inconvenience. Overnight, a rare stroke had cut off blood to one of his optic nerves, rendering him functionally blind in that eye—forever. And he soon learned from doctors that the same disorder could ravage his left eye, too. He could lose his sight altogether.
In The Beauty of Dusk, Bruni hauntingly recounts his adjustment to this daunting reality, a medical and spiritual odyssey that involved not only reappraising his own priorities but also reaching out to, and gathering wisdom from, longtime friends and new acquaintances who had navigated their own traumas and afflictions.
The result is a poignant, probing, and ultimately uplifting examination of the limits that all of us inevitably encounter, the lenses through which we choose to evaluate them and the tools we have for perseverance. Bruni’s world blurred in one sense, as he experienced his first real inklings that the day isn’t forever and that light inexorably fades, but sharpened in another. Confronting unexpected hardship, he felt more blessed than ever before. There was vision lost. There was also vision found.
We got The Beauty of Dusk by Frank Bruni as part of my husband’s Shelf Subscription to The Bookshelf Thomasville. This book is an example of why I love book subscriptions. This is a book I don’t think I would have ever picked up on my own. The book subscription put it in my hands and helped me read outside my comfort zone.
The Beauty of Dusk is Frank Bruni’s memoir of losing his vision in one eye after a rare stroke that cut off blood to his optic nerves. He not only shares his journey of losing his eyesight and learning to live with this disability, but he shares what he learned from others that have struggled with major health crises.
Frank Bruni is a journalist and his memoir is very well written. Some of my favorite memoirs and biographies are written by journalists. They know how to write and how to pack a lot into a few words.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I marked quite a few quotes in the book that is inspirational and well said about dealing with health issues. The title of the book is The Beauty in the Dusk and I think the author does a good job of seeing the beauty in the midst of his poor eyesight.
There are a few things I didn’t really enjoy about the book or could have done without. I thought it got too political, especially in the last few chapters. He wrote the book during Covid, so I guess it makes sense, and I think we are going to have this issue with a lot of books that were written during the last two years, but I could have done without the political comments.
The author is also homosexual and I could have done without some of the information about his love life.
And since I am a Christian I found parts of this book sad. He is looking for hope in the world and joy in places that he will never find it.
Overall though I am glad I read the book. It gave good insight into what living with chronic diseases looks like.