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Light Shining in the Forest Hardcover – 31 Jan 2013


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Light Shining in the Forest + The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall + More Than You Can Say
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (31 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297867474
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297867470
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 3.2 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Torday was born in 1946 and read English Literature at Pembroke College, Oxford. He spent the next 30 years working in engineering and in industry, after which he scaled back his business responsibilities to fulfil a long-harboured ambition - to write.

He burst on to the literary scene in 2006 with his first novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, an immediate bestseller that has been sold in 19 countries.

He is married with two sons by a previous marriage and has two stepsons and lives close to the River North Tyne.

Product Description

Review

Paul Torday switches water for woodlands in Light Shining in the Forest, a tale of missing minors set in the author's Northumberland home (VOGUE)

A great story, and very dark in places. (ESSENTIALS MAGAZINE)

A well-crafted novel...there is momentum, and there is excitement. (THE SPECTATOR)

(Torday) has blended some excellent social satire and even a dollop of the supernatural...this is an excellent mash-up, well-written, well-crafted and constantly gripping (Harry Ritchie DAILY MAIL)

Tautly written, the tone acid and angry (EVENING STANDARD)

We move from comedy, through pain, to a greater mystery than the mystery with which, on the ordinary level of crime and detection, the author has gripped us. (Allan Massie THE SCOTSMAN)

Torday has a vivid flair for describing... (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)

(A) disquieting and atmospheric psychological novel. (DAILY EXPRESS)

An unsettling, haunting story...Torday has created some strong characters in this memorable, atmospheric and tense novel...His prose is controlled, elegant and measured and his totally unexpected conclusion is very powerful. (THE LADY)

Torday's exploration of human anguish and pain, interspersed with the dark, haunting rural environment, provides the template, while his biting social comment showcases a writer at the very top of his game. (PRESS ASSOCIATION)

This is a terrific read in Mr Torday's simple and effective prose style, which should alert us all to what is happening in Britain. (COUNTRY LIFE)

(A) grippingly dark thriller....Great writing from a master storyteller. (Viv Groskop RED MAGAZINE)

Torday's exploration of human anguish and pain, interspersed with the dark haunting rural environment, provides the template, while his biting social comment showcases a writer at the very top of his game. (YORKSHIRE POST)

Book Description

From the author of SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN, a dark tale about a failing politician and the search for two missing children.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Tina Elliott on 20 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback
Like other reviewers I'm a big fan of Paul Torday's writing and I've read everything that's been published.

Northumberland is huge and largely empty of people - Kielder Forest cuts a big, dark swathe through the county and it's a pretty scary place even in mid summer because it is so huge and still. The story evokes the feel of the forest perfectly and it's menace....the characters are entirely absorbing (even the baddie) and while you don't want to know the ending , you'll have to know what it is. Torday's subject is harrowing, it's not a fun read but it's a page-turner of the first order. Well written, utterly absorbing and while I've loved everything else he's written too - this is his best I think. I'm sorry I won't be able to read more of his work - thank you Paul for what you had time to create.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By D. Harris TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I reviewed Torday's last book, The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall, I happily gave my review the title "I'd like to live in Torday-Land". That was based on his books - up to that point - being largely inhabited by good chaps, with an amusing habit of wandering out of one book into another to show different sides of what was really one complex, evolving story. While they suffered reverses at the hands of scheming banks, nasty property developers or even foreign terrorists, they learned lessons, remained rooted in the soil and generally survived adversity.

This book takes Torday to a rather different, much darker place.

I wouldn't want to live there. I'm not sure I'd even want to visit for long. The book was enjoyable to read - but to those familiar with Torday's earlier books, I think the atmosphere of "Light Shining..." will come as a bit of a shock. Don't just expect more of the same.

The story opens with Geordie, a forestry worker. Geordie is in a dark place both literally (he works alone in the sprawling Kielder forest) and emotionally: his stepson, Theo, has disappeared in strange circumstances. (Torday described the disappearance in his e-book only novella, Theo. While it seems a good idea to provide more insight into the backstory in this way, I'm not sure that the two books work well together, although explaining why would I think be somewhat off topic here, and difficult without spoilers for both books).

We are then introduced to Norman, a minor bureaucrat and a more familiar Tordayish character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol on 19 Sep 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Light Shining in the Forest by Paul Torday. Book Review.
"Why did you give him to me, if you were going to take him away again?"
The debate continues here on stigmata and divine intervention versus atheism and agnosticism. Torday stated that the atheists and agnostics might be wrong and that there might be a God. If this makes your blood run cold then perhaps you'll relish the opportunity to be immersed in a story that fuses the genres of thriller, satire, horror and the supernatural as well as love and sex. Forget the religion.
Recently in Madrid a number of young children have been abducted from Ciudad Lineal, one from the Dominican Republic, another Japanese and a Chinese girl as well as some Spanish girls. Torday responded to the Baby P case in the UK by writing this novel in an attempt to highlight the inadequacies of the Social Services and the breakdown of the family unit. Who's to blame? This is his most disturbing and angry work, published the year of his death. "Pure evil has a random quality that it is difficult to predict and arm yourself against."
The story is set in Torday's home territory-Northumberland. We are plunged into the primeval world of fables in the Kielder forest with animals possessing human-like eyes, mysteriously appearing and disappearing, uncomfortable periods of silence. Its inhabitants lived by violence, men who were masterless who acknowledged no King as their ruler. It's a dark, haunting bleak landscape hiding macabre thoughts and acts of barbarity. It's also where Geordie Nixon works as a woodsman.
His relationship with Mary has floundered after the abduction of Theo, a special child who displayed mysterious lacerations and wounds that appeared and disappeared without any logical explanation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C L CASSIDY on 3 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I found this book disturbing I could not put it down it is a real page turner and kept me on the edge as did 'The Girl on the Landing.' I have read many Paul Torday books and thinmk of it as a great loss he has died - he was a great story teller! If you haven't read Paul's books you should wade your way through them. I began with 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Manda on 1 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a well written and well constructed book. The subject matter is dark and rather gruesome but the writer handles it well. The emotions of the characters are well conveyed. I do not generally like grizzly books but this one had me captivated. An excellent read but prepare yourself for some uncomfortable material.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pigwin on 28 Mar 2013
Format: Hardcover
The story opens in Kielder forest where Geordie a forestry worker, whose life has been shattered by the disappearance of his young stepson, is doing some back-breaking work. Two young girls subsequently go missing and all three children are from different backgrounds. Norman is a newly appointed children's tsar who, due to a government reshuffle and a change of priorities in the department in which he is employed, has no real work to do but spends his days attending official functions, drinking lattes and enjoying lunch. A local reporter desperate for the "big story" that will make his name, discovers Norman's existence and forces him to engage with the disappearance of the three children. Meanwhile the local police have classified the missing kids as runaways. I won't describe the plot any further in deference to those who have yet to read the book.

I have enjoyed most of Paul Torday's other books and The Girl on the Landing was quite dark but this novel is in a different league in terms of darkness. I was completely absorbed by the the first half of the book but found the latter half disappointing. The supernatural/religious themes were driven home with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer and I found the embalming and taxidermy elements of this novel difficult. The characters seemed a bit clichéd to me and the final chapters might have benefited from some judicious pruning.

Reading of the little boy born with such severe facial deformity that even his family could not bear to look at him, was singularly distressing notwithstanding what later transpires.

Nevertheless, this book has its moments and Paul Torday does write very well.
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