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Night Navigation

by Ginnah Howard

Night Navigation by Ginnah Howard X
Night Navigation by Ginnah Howard
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 27 reader reviews for Night Navigation
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Wayne Francis

A Fine Novel on More Than One Level
Others more qualified than I am have testified to the veracity of Ginnah Howard's portrait of the complex family dynamics that come into play when a person is afflicted by both mental illness (bipolar disorder) and drug addiction - in a nutshell: the optimum stance for a family member coping with the behavior spawned by one is a potentially disastrous stance for coping with the other. And the people caught in this bind have lives of their own to lead.

What I'd like to stress, however, is Howard's artful, indeed virtuosic, handling of language, her nearly perfect ear and her seemingly instinctive avoidance not only of verbal cliches but of easy turns of plot and characterization. This makes her telling of the story more effective - and more likely to endure - but it also results in prose that will be read with pleasure even by those of us fortunate enough not to relate intensely to the story on a personal level.

After registering this fact, one is not surprised to find that she has other, quite different, stories to tell. I've read some on her web site (, where she has posted stories from an unpublished book, "Rope and Bone," and I have also found some stories, originally published in magazines, on the web sites of the magazines.
Jeanie Stuntzner

Stunning fresh voice, powerful story to tell
I don't think Night Navigation could have been more perfect, more affecting. Those characters were so INHABITED. The pacing was tight and so very purposeful. Every single word on every single page had a meaning, and made a gesture towards something we needed to see -- even if we had our "eyes closed" out of love and frustration for the characters. Just flawless. Even if you have never had a personal connection with the themes of the book, you will understand Del and Mark's intricate dance. A must-read if you are in search of a fresh voice. I have a feeling that this will be a movie someday...
Lois G. (Redding, California)

One to recommend.
I don't know about you, but when I read a really good book, I recommend it to other people. Not just my friends, but people in bookstores with that "what to read next" look on their face. Night Navigation by Ginnah Howard is a great book to tell others about.

I enjoyed reading Night Navigation, with parts of it touching me deeply. I think it would be a wonderful book for a discussion group, due to the fact that certain parts of it may stand out to different readers.

Ginnah Howard is a talented author and I am looking forward to reading her next book. A book that I hope will not be too long in coming.
Power Reviewer

Dark, Sad and Beautiful
A dark yet beautiful novel made even more haunting by the knowledge of the story being derived from true events in the author's life.

I could see shades of myself in the characters, as well as others in my life; enablers and addicts alike.

The author's writing style reminded me of modern day poetry. Through her prose she drew beautiful pictures of ugly situations.

Night Navigation
What a wonderful book. The characters really drew me into the story. The author was able to portray the problems drugs create between parent and child, no matter what their ages. I think we often assume only teens have drug problems, we don't often read accounts of adult children and their parents. The struggle can go on for years and this book provided insight into that problem.

I enjoyed the writing and the story and look forward to other books by this author.

Night Navigation
This book was very hard for me to read because of the content, but yet it was extremely hard to put down. It was so easy to get involved in the lives of Del and Mark. To me the book was just as addictiive as Mark's addition to his drugs. I love getting totally involved in a book and I did with this one. Through Ginnah Howard's wonderfully sensitive writing, I was able to experience the same emotional ups and downs the characters experienced, from anger to love, from hope to disappointment, from steadfast loyalty to wanting to walk away.

I look forward to Ginnah Howard's next book.

REAL writing
This book, about a mother and son moving through their respective recoveries from co-dependence and drug addiction, is painfully raw and true to life. Although a "novel", there is no doubt left in the reader's mind at the end of the book that the author knows whereof she speaks. For me, it was one of those books that mesmerized and intrigued me but that I could only read a little at a time. As a licensed social worker, I was impressed that the author captured even the small details of the addiction recovery process accurately. Doing that in such beautiful, concise, and poetic clarity is nothing short of amazing.

Astounding First Novel
Night Navigation is a powerful novel from an accomplished first novelist. Writing in the alternating voices of the mother, Del, and her 32 year old son Mark, Howard adds to reader involvement. I was pulled into the skillfully drawn maternal co-dependency, which is part of most mother-child relationships. The author’s writing style of short, choppy sentences in the Mark sections echoes his manic mind state. Having a daughter who is bi-polar and alcohol and drug dependent, the manipulation of the addict is well known to me.

Though this at first seems a dark novel, there are instances of humor which lighten the drama and make the characters and situations real. Her use of imagery, the careful filling of the coffee pot, the struggle with the bats, Mark’s paranoia about crows, all rise to symbolic significance and add depth to the novel.

I thoroughly enjoyed Night Navigation, and am looking forward to the author’s second novel.

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