Warning: this review thoroughly spoils the plot, especially the ending. Additionally this review discusses the portrayal of racial and sexual violence.
After I finished reading Out of Darkness, I started thinking about the different ways authors writing historical fiction construct narratives rooted in historic realities of violence and oppression. Specifically, how do authors do justice to that pain? Does there exist a point of “too much”? If so, at what point does a story reach it? Can happy endings exist in stories rooted in racial and/or sexual violence, or do they demean the real lives of those who either lived through or died from it? Alternately, does the definition of a happy ending change when writing stories about pain, suffering, and loss? Out of violent, unjustified crimes against innocent people, is there anything to salvage? Anything that has the slightest chance of creating a better world?