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The Gravity of Sunlight [Paperback]

Rosa Shand
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press; Reprint edition (Jun 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569472408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569472408
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,796,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The Gravity of Sunlight by Rosa Shand is an extraordinary and sensuous novel equally brilliant in its creation of place (Uganda in the 1970's during Amin's rise to power) and its exploration of human desire. Shand's depth of image in the externals of Africa -- the smells of wood smoke and gardenias; the musical sounds in the "buzz and whir" of insects or antiphonal native song floating through the "rustling of mango leaves;" and the sights of "thick green," "dusty glitter," and flopping banana leaves -- become inseparable from the internal soul. Equally, Shand's portrayal of characters through Agnes' sensitive and urgent consciousness, as when she sees Wulf during the early stages of her attraction to him,"a figure in a gleaming pure-white jacket, a man in the dark at the bottom of her drive" deeply penetrate not only Agnes' soul but our own interior selves.
Agnes is a woman who craves love and attachment to all living things. Uganda, teeming with aliveness, paradoxically both nourishes her and fosters her restlessness and need for fulfillment. So real is the experience of this book that I felt a tigtening in my own chest, becoming connected to Agnes' joy, pain, and ultimately her confusion and disorder over the mystery of love andhow it perches in one's own heart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars boring 29 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I was shocked by how how boring this book was. The writing is good, but that's the only thing. The vision of Africa is completely romanticized, manichaean, the characters are colourless and sickly sentimental. The base of the Uganda revolution is nearly totally absent. the novel goes nowhere, except back on its own trail, it's a closed circle without any evolution. A boring Emma Bovary in an Out of Africa version.
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Format:Hardcover
"The Gravity of Sunlight" is a beautiful work of fiction about a love for a country, about the confines of married love and about the excitement of illicit love and all that entails. It is set in Uganda where the author lived for 10 years, and her love of the place and its evocative atmosphere rings clear and true. The story opens with Agnes whose husband has told her she must "will herself" to love him. As she has trouble accepting the possibillity of willed love, an appealing foreigner comes into her life and completes the puzzle that is her with missing pieces. Extremely well written, compelling and tensely erotic. Especially interesting are the chapter titles -- "On Cows and Cathedrals," "On Being Honest With Friends," etc. -- and the often off-the-topic musings of introductory paragraphs of each short chapter. Rosa Shand, please hurry and write another fine novel!
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's an extraordinarily fine book! 10 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Rosa Shand has created wonderfully complex characters and plot, hatched under the African sun - and moon . . . The writing style is insidious, like paths through a bazaar, sometimes heavily peopled and sometimes smoothly sweeping, but never, ever boring. Finishing the book produces that best-of-reading feelings: glad to have read the story, but sad not to enjoy the characters longer. The main couple, Agnes and John, have a prosaic life at a college in Uganda, struggling in their separate and coupled realms with love and will, family and friendship. Somehow nothing goes as anticipated, however, for character or reader. The scenes are mosaics of activity and feeling that can't be picked apart to discern precise cause and effect, entwining both reader and characters in an emotional maelstrom of memorable consequence. It's just an excellent book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bask in this 'Sunlight' 13 Sep 2000
By M. Prufer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is simply a beautiful book with well developed characters, scene setting that makes you want to hop a jet to Africa, real emotion, and a wonderful story of love and longing, betrayal, adventure and everyday life. I love this book! With apologies to Barbara Kingsolver, it's similar in that it's set in Africa, it's about a minster, his wife and their children and their time in that strangely intoxicating country, but it's so much more readable than Kingsolver whom I never finished. One of the most interesting aspects of Rosa Shand's novel is the beginning paragraph of each chapter in which she sets a scene or merely ponders on something unrelated to the action. These pieces are so very poetic in themselves. And then there's the story -- Agnes, who many women will relate to, who cannot "will herself" to love her unconnected husband, fantasizes about a man who she becomes inevitably bound with. But enough of that, read it yourself, you won't regret it. (And who in their right mind would call this book racist? The "reviewer" clearly missed the point if he/she even read beyond the first chapter...) Rosa Shand, please write more!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gravity of Sunlight by Rosa Shand 1 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
For those who like fine, poetic writing this novel fills the bill. In some ways I would compare it to The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - as it is set against a political upheaval in Africa and deals with Americans trying to cope in a foreign land. Another parallel is the religious connection - Shand tells the story of Agnes who is married (sadly) to a Lutheran deacon and teacher who is harsh and unromantic. Agnes lives in a separate world and becomes involved in an affair with a Polish professor and seems rather oblivious to the political upheaval going on all around her. A fine, involving read.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflections on The Gravity of Sunlight 12 Jun 2000
By Susan Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Gravity of Sunlight by Rosa Shand is an extraordinary and sensuous novel equally brilliant in its creation of place (Uganda in the 1970's during Amin's rise to power) and its exploration of human desire. Shand's depth of image in the externals of Africa -- the smells of wood smoke and gardenias; the musical sounds in the "buzz and whir" of insects or antiphonal native song floating through the "rustling of mango leaves;" and the sights of "thick green," "dusty glitter," and flopping banana leaves -- become inseparable from the internal soul. Equally, Shand's portrayal of characters through Agnes's sensitive and urgent consciousness, as when she sees Wulf during the early stages of her attraction to him,"a figure in a gleaming pure-white jacket, a man in the dark at the bottom of her drive" deeply penetrate not only Agnes's soul but our own interior selves.
Agnes is a woman who craves love and attachment to all living things. Uganda, teeming with aliveness, paradoxically both nourishes her and fosters her restlessness and need for fulfillment. So real is the experience of this book that I felt a tightening in my own chest, becoming connected to Agnes's joy, pain, and ultimately her confusion and disorder over the mystery of love and how it perches in one's own heart.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into Africa 5 Aug 2000
By Eustacia Vye - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This novel is so pretty, so elegant, so poetic. The beauty of the language and the depth of the love story set against the hideous ugliness of Idi Amin's reign is a marvel. The story is sensual and erotic, the prose so lovely that you feel Africa. The heat, the mosquitoes, the sultry evenings. A lyrical novel that's a delight to read.
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea 20 Jun 2013
By Archer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Had to read this book for a school assignment. It just wasn't to my liking. I can't say I enjoyed it at all. Not dogging the book, just wasn't my type of read.
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