Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Fitbit

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£8.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 6 December 2001
When I read the short blurb inside the front cover I hesitated; it is a highly quirky plot when summarised, but actually it works rather well in the book.
Basically the whole thing is several character studies (quite a lot in fact) that build up to make the story, and sometimes it is satirical and mildly tongue-in-cheek. Although the amount of characters which the book centres on is probably too high, the plot is oddly compelling and the way everything fits together is quite clever. Each character is conveyed very well in their speech and actions, and the text never becomes boring; it even approaches the issue of eternal and finite time, and caused me to think quite a lot about this. Personally I don't like stories that are written in the present tense, but I'll have to make an exception for this one - it gives a more lightweight tone and sometimes accentuates the irony of the characters' behaviour.
A very interesting book then, rather quirky, but clever and always compelling.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 April 2011
When Roy Travers floats away in a bouncy castle and then wakes up in the care of a stranger, he assumes that he has died and gone to heaven. His wife, Sheila, assumes that aliens have abducted him. So, in addition to taking to wearing aluminum wrapping at the tip of her ears (to ensure that she makes herself available to any extraterrestrial messages) she also enlists the help of a private investigator, Alison (from Alison Wonderland), to help her track him down.

Helen Smith takes on an amusing journey into the minds of her absurd, colorful characters. This is a fun read that kept me on my toes. This is not a book I felt I could put down and then easily pick up again, simply because of the POV changes. The voice changed often and sometimes unexpectedly, from paragraph to paragraph. So, I read it in two sittings and enjoyed it immensely.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I ordered `Being Light' minutes after finishing Helen Smith's highly amusing first novel `Alison Wonderland'.

In `Being Light' the author introduces new characters in addition to some of those who were lucky enough survive past the end of the first story. All the characters are observed through Helen Smith's `satire-coloured spectacles' and are treated to her particular brand of quirky social comment. `Being Light' is a sequel only in the sense that Alison continues her search for a satisfying relationship, while juggling parental responsibilities and her work for the detective agency. The rest of the story explores the lives and motivations of a curiously connected group of individuals, as a backdrop to solving the mystery of a disappearing husband. Each character displays a remarkable ability to drift full sail on the wind of fate, while striving to impose his or her will on an all too resilient destiny.

In reading `Being Light', I missed the mad-cap humour of `Alison Wonderland' but in its place I found a more closely controlled building of tension, especially in the second half of the novel. It is a subtly compelling page-turner and I had to keep restraining myself from peeking to find out if, in the last chapter, the errant Roy met with disaster or redemption. I cannot of course spoil the fun by giving even the tiniest hint...
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 June 2012
After reading Alison Wonderland recently, I exchanged a couple of emails with the author and mentioned how much I missed Alison and the other characters after finishing the book. She said that there was another that she had written, and promptly sent me a copy.

Being Light begins with a wonderfully visual and surreal scene - Roy Travers and his friend realise that they haven't done a particularly good job of securing a bouncy castle when Roy is swept away on it by a freak gust of wind. As he drifts higher and further away, he comes to the realisation that he is going to die...just before he plummets back to earth.

His wife Sheila refuses to believe that he is dead, but can't understand why he can't find his way home to her. Eventually she concludes that he must have been abducted by aliens, and enlists the help of both a detective agency (the one that Alison works for) and tin foil caps on her ears, just in case the aliens try to communicate with her.

This is an extremely character-led book. Everyone has their flaws and eccentricities, and surreal as they may seem at times they also manage to be totally believable and lifelike.

Being Light definitely has the same, quirky style as Alison Wonderland - Helen Smith has a wonderfully whimsical style of writing that I absolutely love, but this story has far more depth and underlying sadness with less of the madcap romping in Alison.

It's not completely without it's madness though - although the psychic postman has been sacked, and Jeff has moved far away from Alison's basement, he has been replaced by Harvey who works in advertising and feels the need to give everything definite labels in order to categorise life. There is also an ex circus performer, an animal trainer, a lad who wants to stop the traffic, a stolen elephant and a vision for men in the future. Alison and Taron, although still in the book, and caught up in the many story threads, aren't the lead characters in the book -- but then noone seems to be. Everyone is interwoven, often in unexpected ways.

Helen Smith has so many ideas, and they are crammed into the story - I was folding the page over every time I saw an idea that I liked, just so that I could find it again. My book is now completely dog-eared because there was so much that I read and thought "That is so clever" or just as likely "That is so beautifully written, and completely true!"

There were a couple of points where I suddenly wondered when it was written, and was rather shocked when I saw that it was first published in 2000. WHY has it taken me so long to know of the existence of this book, and Helen herself?

Absolutely loved it!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 January 2011
If you have had the pleasure of reading other works from Helen Smith, such as Alison Wonderland, then you will love reading Being Light. Since I enjoyed Ms. Smith's writing style in Alison Wonderland, I was excited to begin reading Being Light to see if it had the same quirkiness that I had grown fond of in Alison Wonderland. Helen Smith's Being Light does not disappoint! We start off by meeting Roy, who is abruptly carried away in a bouncy toy in strong winds. When it crashes, Roy believes his first thought and that is that he is dead and has woken up in heaven, as he finds himself in an angel's embrace. We follow his wife Sheila throughout the story who is dedicated to finding her lost husband even though her sanity may have been impacted a bit in the process. Being Light does involve other characters as well and even though their stories may make them seem unrelated at certain times, in the end it all comes together and we realize just how small the world really is. If you want a quick and easy read that is full of comedic quirkiness, then I suggest you give Being Light a read. I'm looking forward to reading more of Helen Smith's works!
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 July 2013
The quirky blurb of Being Light enticed me into what was actually a cleverly woven story in it's own right. The characters are interesting and the mystery element compelling. I pretty much read the whole thing in one sitting, which is definitely a testament to Helen Smith's writing since I have the worst attention span in the world! Witty, yet with a poignant sadness. Recommend!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 November 2011
What a great book Being Light is. When a strong wind blows Roy Travers away on the bouncy castle he is setting up, and then he crashes to earth and subsequently thinks he is dead, you know this is going to be an interesting book. His wife is not so sure and she goes to comical lengths to find him, believing he has been abducted by aliens. One of the things she does is enlist the help of Mrs Fitzgerald's detective agency - from Alison Wonderland. This brings in Alison Temple, her friend Taron and others from that book. I loved Alison Wonderland and now I also love Being Light. It is a very funny book. I do like Helen Smith's way of writing, and she has deservedly won praise from various critics. There are quite a lot of things going on in Being Light and I sometimes couldn't see how these things were related. I should not have been concerned. It all came together very nicely at the end.
If you have read any of Helen Smith's books before, and enjoyed them, but you have not read this one, then I urge you to get it. If you have read none of Helen Smith's books before then I urge you to start now. I am sure you will not be disappointed.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 December 2010
Roy Travers is helping his friend put up a bouncy castle for a fun day when he gets blown away aboard it and disappears. He finds himself in Paradise with an angel named Sylvia. Meanwhile his wife Sheila, unswayed by friends suggesting he might have run off with another woman or simply that he died in the freak accident, becomes convinced he has been abducted by aliens.

The book follows a cast of distinctive characters, whose lives are seemingly unconnected, but as the story develops the reader starts to see how they overlap. Some of the characters are larger than life and a good deal of humour derives from their views and actions in trying to achieve their aims, but there is also a sense of sadness that many are missing something from their lives, be it a person or a sense of direction. There are a lot of characters to keep track of but as the book progresses and their interactions become clearer it becomes easier to follow.

I enjoyed the satire and the wry observations about life the author makes, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what had happened to Roy but also to see who would finally connect with whom and how. I did find that because of the formatting on the kindle paragraphs ran together that probably shouldn't have, and it wasn't instantly clear that the action had moved, but careful reading and being engrossed in the story meant this was not a major issue.

I hadn't appreciated that this book features Alison of Alison Wonderland, had I done so I would probably have read that first to have had a greater background on her character but I think Being Light is perfectly capable of standing on it's own. It's a good, character driven story that I was desperate to finish to find out how things would turn out.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 April 2012
It is unlikely Being Light is anything like any book you've read before. There are multiple casts of characters, which in the beginning seem unrelated. Keeping track of them all is a challenge at first. One thing they all have in common is they're ... I want to say crazy. Maybe not in the sense that they're certifiable, although we do have some belief in alien abduction, so I won't rule it out. But each has plenty of quirks and eccentricities. Although not a sequel in the normal sense, Alison Wonderland (from the book of the same name) and her boss, Ella Fitzgerald (how did that name slip past me when I read Alison?), each reprise their roles.

I've read all of Smith's books that are available for the Kindle. Each time the same things stand out for me. The plots are original, inventive, and (quick, find another word for quirky) idiosyncratic. But it is the characters and the humor that draw me in, not just in their situations, but also in how Smith describes them. For example, when I read, `We don't have a leader, here,' says the leader of the group...," I did a double take and laughed. When Smith explains the reason for the conditions inside service station lady's restrooms, I flashed on several stories from women complaining about the same, and couldn't help but chuckle. I was amused by one character's concept of heaven as being "exotic and unfamiliar, the sort of place that is unattainable for ordinary people, like Richard Branson's island in the Caribbean." These subtle humorous moments accumulate into a fun, enjoyable read.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 April 2001
This is a very funny book, with an underlying sadness. She writes about London and Londoners but she is also writing about loneliness, betrayal and lost love. If you like this book you will like her first one, Alison Wonderland, which shares some of the same characters and a similar light, witty style.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Need customer service? Click here