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When the Lights Go Out [Paperback]

Tanith Lee
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Oct 1996
Fantasy novel from Tanith Lee.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing; New edition edition (3 Oct 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747252165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747252160
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 11.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,511,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another intriguing read from Tanith Lee. 12 July 2002
By H
Format:Paperback
Ever wondered what happens to small seaside towns when the tourist season has finished and the bright lights go out? Tanith Lee obviously has, for this novel concerns such a place; a decaying English holiday resort which doubles as a sanctuary for the old, sick or abused, a close-knit community whose inhabitants quickly become murderous when threatened by unwelcome visitors from the outside ............
Tanith Lee's work can be divided into two catagories; stories set in purely imaginative fantasy worlds, peopled by mythical creatures and archetypal beauties, for example, the "Flat Earth" series, and conversely, stories set in the here and now, or something very close to it, where the fantasy element is beautifully offset by the mundane environment, for example, the "Blood Opera" series. I prefer her work in the second catagory, into which When the Lights Go Out neatly falls. Basically a coming-of-age story with a twist, it concerns the flight of the solitary, aloof, misfit teenager Hesta, from the suburbs and her bullying mother, to a town where a group of seeming squatters and junkies function as psychics, healers and spiritual ministry, in a neat take on the traditional monastic lifestyle. Hesta is adopted into their group instantly, and learns that if she is willing, she is to take on a most important role in their community.
As usual, Lee's writing is wonderfully lithe, vivid, and effortlessly descriptive. Her characters are beautifully observed, and the unfolding plot contains a few real surprises. Her skill in weaving allusion to ancient myth and ritual (in this case, the role of ancient priest-kings, Greek tragedy and virgin births) into the mundane or everyday , is, as always, brilliantly done. I always look forward to the publication of a new Tanith Lee book, and this one fulfilled my expectations completely. I sincerely hope she continues to produce work in this vein, and to this high standard, well into the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goth goddess in a seaside town 8 Mar 2007
Format:Paperback
This is one of my favourite books by Lee. When I picked it up to refresh my memories last night, it drew me in all over again. The story is set in modern-day England, and the action takes place in London and in a decaying seaside town in the chilly off-season. Under this drab surface, ancient mythic currents are moving.

Hesta is rather a typical Lee heroine, a cool, wilful and somehow alien teen (comparable to Esther in Days of Grass). She is humanised by her friendship with Janey and with Janey's mother Lulu, who provide a refuge from Hesta's bitter and self-absorbed mother. When mother and her lover push Hesta too far, she takes an offhand revenge and leaves.

The first half of the book is jumpy, with settings and characters changing just as we've gotten interested in them. Hesta first takes shelter with a group of young squatters, whose stories and names echo classic myths. She leaves them behind as she seeks the mystery of her own role in this society, where she seems to be already known, loved, and provided for.

In the last part of the book the characters from the opening come back to importance. Hesta's mother and her lover track her down, and many things are sorted out. Even the ghost convertible has a part to play.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is exquisite ! It's so peculiar and shocking at times, once it's got you you're hooked. I love the character of Hesta, she is vividly conjured up as usual by Tanith Lee and is one of the most unusual and independent female protagonists I've ever come across. The concept behind the plot is both original and unsettling. What really happens in our seaside towns out of season, when the lights go out ?
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5.0 out of 5 stars I think I may have been here..... 19 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story starts with Hesta's life in London,living alone with her self-obsessed mother Stephanie as her father works on an oil rig.She has one close friend, Janey, and spends as much time at the home of Janey and her Mum,Lulu as possible.One day, at the end of the summer season, Hesta and Janey go to the seaside for the day - but only Janey returns to London. Hesta remains to fulfil her destiny.
I loved this book,and I think I would have enjoyed it from my middle teens upward.As with the other Tanith Lee books I have read it has a curiously dreamlike quality but is enormously satisfying with no loose end left untied
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Goth goddess in a seaside town 7 July 2005
By Barbara Gordon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of my favourite books by Lee. When I picked it up to refresh my memories last night, it drew me in all over again. The story is set in modern-day England, and the action takes place in London and in a decaying seaside town in the chilly off-season. Under this drab surface, ancient mythic currents are moving.
Hesta is rather a typical Lee heroine, a cool, wilful and somehow alien teen (comparable to Esther in Days of Grass). She is humanised by her friendship with Janey and with Janey's mother Lulu, who provide a refuge from Hesta's bitter and self-absorbed mother. When mother and her lover push Hesta too far, she takes an offhand revenge and leaves.
The first half of the book is jumpy, with settings and characters changing just as we've gotten interested in them. Hesta first takes shelter with a group of young squatters, whose stories and names echo classic myths. She leaves them behind as she seeks the mystery of her own role in this society, where she seems to be already known, loved, and provided for.
In the last part of the book the characters from the opening come back to importance. Hesta's mother and her lover track her down, and many things are sorted out. Even the ghost convertible has a part to play.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed 28 April 2013
By Romantic Senior - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not up to her usual standards. I have not read all Tanith Lee books, but I find that her science fiction (Silver Metal Lover, Days of Grass) is much better than her fantasy books. Unfortunately she didn't write many syfy novels and I wish she had. I would read them all. This book was almost boring. I kept waiting for something to happen and when it finally began to happen, I lost interest. I thought this was going to be more syfy in its storyline, but it wasn't. I will continue to seek out more of her better books.
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