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The Sunlight Pilgrims Hardcover – 7 Apr 2016
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"[A] vivid and tender coming-of-age story set at the end of the world . . . For all its coldness and darkness, The Sunlight Pilgrims is ultimately a hopeful book – and for a novel that describes the end of the world, that is quite a feat." (Kirsty Logan Guardian)
"Fagan received widespread acclaim for her 2012 debut The Panopticon, and was named as one of the prestigious Granta Best of Young British Novelists a year later. The Sunlight Pilgrims further cements Fagan’s reputation as a writer of skill and depth, a book that shares a similar outsider charm to its predecessor, and one that delves deep into how we relate to others on a human level in the face of all the crap that life throws at us … The author also, it should be said, writes like the poet that she is, with an original eye for description, a wonderful rhythm to her prose, and some genuinely inspiring and unusual characters. An impressive read." (Doug Johnstone Big Issue)
"The Sunlight Pilgrims evokes a chillingly plausible near-future . . . intimately imagined." (Paraic O'Donnell The Spectator)
"Fagan’s vivid, poetic-prose style injects the book with energy. She writes at the pace of thought, sentences like gunfire … She has a poet's affection for precision and image." (Sophie Elmhirst Financial Times)
"Fagan is drawn to those who exist on the outer reaches, and in The Sunlight Pilgrims it is in the literal margins where a broader and yet more refined collection of voices is drawn together … The Sunlight Pilgrims is about the confluence of characters searching to fill the gaps in their lives … In the transgender 11-year-old Stella we have an engaging protagonist whose isolation is mental, physical and geographical, yet who is imbued with a survivalist’s steely resolve ... Indeed, it is somewhere between Alan Warner and Iain Banks that Fagan’s storytelling ability sits, the grit of her familial backstories and dysfunctional relationships dusted with the glitter of magical realism ... In heightened poetic prose, Fagan does for rural Scottish fiction what Kathleen Jamie is doing in poetry and Amy Liptrot in non-fiction: evocatively documenting the ever-changing daily drama of the landscape … This is a novel about summoning hidden strengths and finding one’s place in a universe defined by chaos." (Ben Myers New Statesman)
From the highly acclaimed author of The Panopticon and one of Granta’s Best Young British Writers comes the new novel THE SUNLIGHT PILGRIMS.See all Product description
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Set in the winter of 2020/21 - the most extreme winter for 200 years, it tells the story of Constance, her daughter Stella and their neighbours Dylan.
Constance is a resourceful and intelligent woman - well-known in the area for having two lovers - and for not giving a hoot what anyone thinks of her for it.
Stella is a transgender girl struggling with all the usual teenage issues, hugely compounded by the onset of her male puberty. Her determination to be accepted as her true self, and her frustration at everything having to be a battle is a central theme.
Dylan is grieving for his mother and grandmother who both recently died. The arthouse cinema the family ran together has gone to the wall, and so he winds up at the caravan park at the edge of the world where Constance and Stella live.
As winter's grip increases on the land, the weather almost becomes a character in its own right; the plummeting temperature, the drifts of snow and huge icicles all contribute to an increasingly claustrophobic and every setting.
It's a delightful story, sensitively told - it may be early in the year, but I know this will be one of my favourite reads of 2018. Any book that gets you Googling meteorological phenomena has got to be winner.
I’m happy to say that Sunlight Pilgrims drew me in from the start. I had no expectations of the book before I began to read it on Kindle. You must admit that Kindle can be a sterile way to be introduced to a book you know little about but I plunged in.
~ The world is freezing over. Rumours are spreading of an apocalypse. Temperatures in the world are plunging lower than any know records. Is it heading for another Ice Age? A massive iceberg is heading for the coast of Scotland as recently bereaved Dylan heads to his late mother’s caravan for a Highland retreat and to spread the ashes of his mother and grandmother.
This novel is spellbinding in its description of the changing climate. The unusual mix of characters are struggling to stay alive, but alongside this 2020 vision is an intimate internal struggle of families and individuals facing prejudice, dark family secrets, complex love triangles alongside the impossible attempt to stay warm in a small caravan park as temperatures plummet. There are many magic moments but also tense heart breaking times too.
As I said I had no preconceived ideas as to what this novel was about, but it has continued to haunt me for days after I reached the 100% on my kindle and I can highly recommend it.