A Certain Slant of Light is about Peter MacQueen, a man whose emotions, frozen after his family perished in a fire, prevent him from hearing the music of life. Elaine appears in front of his cabin during a late winter ice storm and chips away at the ice of Peter’s soul, exposing raw sores that have been covered up for years.
Peter’s life of goat milking, gardening, and sheep shearing on a Maine island, is the backdrop of the relationship of a man and a woman who need each other to find the path of their lives. Bagpipes, a passion left behind in Peter’s life before the fire, come alive with all their sound and cadence as Peter’s ability to open himself to another human being develops.
Peter experiences the painful memories of a lost family, a guilt that not even he realizes, the stifling of his music. But as the ice in the world around his cabin melts, his heart warms to Elaine, to the child Azelin, to the old Passamaquoddy Indian, Dora, until the spring warmth brings a melting of Peter’s shell. He resurrects his bagpipes from an old trunk and resurrects his soul from a doll house in which it has been encapsulated.
Peter teaches us that pain is integral to all joy when he learns to love and release.