The story begins with an introduction to the character Arlyn Singer, who at age seventeen has just lost her father. And as she stands on the porch after the funeral, gazing outward, she vows that the next person walking by will be “the one.”
Then a stranger stops by, asking for directions, and they are drawn together. Even when circumstances appear to step in and interrupt what has begun, Arlyn persists. She follows John Moody, the architecture student, to his university and waits. Then she goes to his family home, The Glass Slipper, meets his parents, and makes their destiny happen.
Years later, they are living in The Glass Slipper with their unusual son Sam. And they are miserable. But they persist (or at least Arlyn does) in the belief that they are living out their destiny.
Each individual’s destiny unfolds, including that of Sam, the brilliant explosive artist. Then comes little sister Blanca, the bookish “good” girl. Her destiny is to keep Sam out of trouble.
When a tragic twist of fate takes them all off the course they had envisioned for themselves, their lives seem to spin off, flying into some other self-destructive pathway.
Watching the devastation as it shimmers and spins, like a legacy of broken pieces or a mysterious puzzle—it is like watching some kind of train wreck.
Much later, we see evidence of ghostlike visitors who leave behind broken glass, soot, and feathers.
Hoffman weaves this family tale in and out through the generations, until finally we reach a kind of resolution.
I was completely swept away by the plight of the characters—almost obsessed. And through it all, the imagery (glass house, broken glass, birds flapping) formed a haunting backdrop for lives gone awry.
If I could, I would give Skylight Confessions a 6 or 7 star review.