THE CANDLE OF GOD, a novel by Donna Spector, published by Outskirts Press

Set in the Fifties, THE CANDLE OF GOD is about a family divided by religious beliefs. The catalyst who ultimately brings the family together is Danny, a bright, talented fourteen-year-old struggling with cystic fibrosis. This serio-comic novel is in five sections.

Parts one, three and five focus on Danny and members of his Jewish family in Altadena, California. Each member of the family—from his grandmother Esther to his younger cousin Jessamyn—wishes to help Danny. But the family members are divided, partly by their idiosyncratic desires and beliefs and partly by the marriage of Danny's uncle David to Kathleen, a Gentile. The lesson everyone but Danny’s mother Dena learns is that of acceptance, of themselves and each other.

Parts two and four follow Earl, head of the Tucson Atheist Society and the man Danny believes is his father, in his wild, erratic odyssey from One-Eyed Pete's bar in Tucson to Danny's grand Pasadena faith healing arranged by his mother Dena. Accompanying Earl on his journey to the boy he also believes to be his son are Violette, his voluptuous mistress; Clyde, a visionary faith healer who--although he doesn't know it-- is Danny's real father; and Harriet, Clyde's gawky bride. Although the faith healing is unsuccessful, most members of Danny’s extended family—even Earl the atheist—experience a spiritual epiphany.

NOTE: THE CANDLE OF GOD was a finalist in the New Millennium novel competition and the Dana Award novel competition.


"Time runs short, even for the young. "The Candle of God" is a novel set amongst the struggles of fourteen year old Danny, who fights cystic fibrosis which could lead him to an early grave. When searching for the strength to conquer it, Danny meets many intriguing characters who may be his family and many more who may not be. "The Candle of God" is an enticing read of hope and healing for terminal youth diseases."
-- Midwest Book Review

"It's 1952 and the first setting for this story of an eccentric family and its assorted members is Pasadena, California, where the two oldest brothers have bought a home for their mother, sister and nephew. The nephew is Danny who is fourteen years old, a totally creative genius who writes songs and wins contests but who is also struggling with cystic fibrosis. Danny's grandmother, Esther, and her late beloved husband, Benjamin, escaped Russia of long ago and live in a small basement Chicago apartment where they begin their family. Their oldest sons, Nathan and Samuel, are successful businessmen. Their youngest son David has married a non-Jew, Irish Kathleen, and they have sired Jessmyn and Melisaa whose company Danny adores. Esther's daughter Leah died tragically just after her marriage and her remaining daughter Dean, Danny's mother, is her own person and is at the moment in an affair with a former rabbi. Rabbi Saltzman, Dena's current fascination, calls together west coast healers to cure Danny of his cystic fibrosis but doesn't realize that one of those healers is Danny's true father. But can Danny really be healed?

"The Candle of God" is a brilliant piece of literature that celebrates the life of the author's cousin who died of cystic fibrosis years ago. Poems of the grandmother, Esther, and her two daughters, Leah and Dena, begin this remarkable tale and it ends with Jessmyn's poem of her own attempts to save her cousin's life. All the characters, Dena, Esther, Danny, his uncle David and his daughter Jessmyn, Melissa, Earl, Clyde who is Danny's real father, and all the others are unique and colorful, and play strong roles in this story of attempted healing. "Candle of God" is not an everyday novel. It is brilliant and deserves to be nominated for the Pushcart Awards.
-- Alice D., Readers Favorite


AUDIO: Donna Spector reads an excerpt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQhIhaSN0TQ

THEATER IN MY HOUSE, an unpublished young adult novel by Donna Spector

14-year-old Sarah’s life reflects the chaos of the late 1960’s when her parents turn their house in Berkeley, California, into an improvisational theater commune called Dementia. Basically a loner, Sarah resists these intruders, but as she becomes involved with the eccentric actors and musicians, she begins to change and grow in understanding of herself. Sarah is also deeply affected by the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, as well as her father’s defection from the troupe after his affair with one of her mother’s former students. Constantly praying for peace, Sarah comes to accept the members of Dementia as her real family.




All material copyright © 2001-2018 by Donna Spector.
Web design by TBE Design, New York City.