It's November 2004. Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, is walking through Central Park when he is suddenly and inexplicably inspired to look up at the sky, where he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. Although Barrett doesn't believe in visions - or in god, for that matter - he can't deny what he's seen. At the same time, in the not-quite-gentrified Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, Beth, who's engaged to Barrett's older brother, Tyler, is dying of colon cancer. Beth, Tyler, and Barrett have cobbled together a more or less happy home. Tyler, a struggling musician with a drug problem, is trying and failing to write a wedding song for his wife-to-be - something that will be not merely a sentimental ballad but an enduring expression of eternal love. Barrett, haunted by the light, turns unexpectedly to religion
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