Light Perpetual: Book summary and reviews of Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford

Light Perpetual

by Francis Spufford

Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford X
Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
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  • Publishes in USA 
    May 18, 2021
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the critically acclaimed and award‑winning author of Golden Hill, a mesmerizing and boldly inventive novel tracing the infinite possibilities of five lives in the bustling neighborhoods of 20th-century London.

Lunchtime on a Saturday, 1944: the Woolworths on Bexford High Street in southeast London receives a delivery of aluminum saucepans. A crowd gathers to see the first new metal in ages—after all, everything's been melted down for the war effort. An instant later, the crowd is gone; incinerated. Among the shoppers were five young children.

Who were they? What futures did they lose? This brilliantly constructed novel lets an alternative reel of time run, imagining the life arcs of these five souls as they live through the extraordinary, unimaginable changes of the bustling immensity of twentieth-century London. Their intimate everyday dramas, as sons and daughters, spouses, parents, grandparents; as the separated, the remarried, the bereaved. Through decades of social, sexual, and technological transformation, as bus conductors and landlords, as swindlers and teachers, patients and inmates. Days of personal triumphs, disasters; of second chances and redemption.

Ingenious and profound, full of warmth and beauty, Light Perpetual illuminates the shapes of experience, the extraordinariness of the ordinary, the mysteries of memory and expectation, and the preciousness of life.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Spufford spins alternate narratives for five Londoners who died during the London Blitz in this magical yarn...stunning...Thanks to Spufford's narrative wizardry, all five protagonists come to vivid life in this spectacularly moving story." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[T]he characters are complex, engaging, memorable. Spufford does indeed bring them to life. He also brings depth and detail to every vignette, from a boy's view of soccer to hot-lead typesetting, a neo-Nazi concert, or a trip on a double-decker bus... Entertaining and unconventional." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"I was reminded of the death-defying bent of two other recent novels—Kate Atkinson's Life After Life and Paul Auster's 4 3 2 1 — both of which share with Light Perpetual a kind of radiant goodness, a sense that the world is a better place for having such books within them…Light Perpetual's brilliance lies in the emotion and drama it wrings from the ordinary—but profoundly meaningful—experiences of its protagonists." - Financial Times (UK)

"With bold metaphysical engineering, the Golden Hill author conjures miraculous everyday existence…Light Perpetual is something new and brave. With exceptional care, with a loving shrewdness that's a little Hogarthian, Spufford catches the voices and hopes of five not-dead working-class south Londoners, and the people who change and shape them." - The Guardian (UK)

"Dazzling...[Spufford is] one of the finest prose stylists of his generation. If his stories grip, his sentences practically glow." - The Times (UK)

"A brilliant, attention-grabbing, capacious experiment with fiction." - The Observer (UK)

"Boundlessly rich." - The Telegraph (UK)

"Radiant with hope and grace and courage...I loved it." - Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent

This information about Light Perpetual shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Francis Spufford Author Biography

Francis Spufford was born in 1964. He is the author of five highly-praised books of non-fiction, most frequently described by reviewers as either "bizarre" or "brilliant," and usually as both. Unapologetic, has been translated into three languages; the one before, Red Plenty, into nine. He has been longlisted or shortlisted for prizes in science writing, historical writing, political writing, theological writing, and writing "evoking the spirit of place." In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He teaches writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and lives near Cambridge. His latest book is his first novel, Golden Hill.

Author Interview
Link to Francis Spufford's Website

Name Pronunciation
Francis Spufford: SPUFF-ord (rhymes with stuff)

Other books by Francis Spufford at BookBrowse
  • Red Plenty jacket
  • Golden Hill jacket
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