The Illuminations

by Andrew O'Hagan

eBooks of the Month Family Drama Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Illuminations

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.

A beautifully told story of war and dementia. Luke is serving in Afghanistan. His grandmother Anne is slipping into dementia in her sheltered flat in Scotland. This powerful and moving book tells their linked stories and draws us back into Anne’s past. So we follow two stories, Anne descending into a shadowy world of her own and thinker Luke in an all too real and horrific one. Both are beautifully realised. In the final section the two come together and Luke takes Anne to Blackpool where he learns about his grandmother’s life as a photographer and hears family secrets long buried. This is a terrific book, once started you will find it difficult to draw away. It is great stuff from a writer at the height of his powers. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

February 2015 Book of the Month.

Sarah Broadhurst

The Illuminations Synopsis

Standing one evening at the window of her house by the sea, Anne Quirk sees a rabbit disappearing in the snow. Nobody remembers her now, but this elderly woman was in her youth a pioneer of British documentary photography. Her beloved grandson, Luke, now a captain with the Royal Western Fusiliers, is on a tour of duty in Afghanistan, part of a convoy taking equipment to the electricity plant at Kajaki. Only when Luke returns home to Scotland does Anne's secret story begin to emerge, along with his, and they set out for an old guest house in Blackpool where she once kept a room.

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The Good Book Guide Review

Andrew O’Hagan cleverly interweaves the lives of three generations of a family. We first meet Anne, at 82, living in sheltered housing and struggling to keep her memories in perspective, longing to be back in Blackpool in the sixties with her lover, Harry, who helped her become a photographer. Fortunately, her younger neighbour, Maureen does her best to look after her and keeps Anne’s daughter Alice in the loop. However, the relationship between mother and daughter is strained and awkward. Alice feels left out of the strong link between her own son, Luke and his grandmother. Luke is in the Army, fighting in Afghanistan, facing his own demons, trying to be the father he never knew because he died on active service in Northern Ireland. O’Hagan cleverly deals with so many issues through these characters, political, personal and psychological, but, above all, he shows that it is our secrets that make us who we are.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780571273645
Publication date: 29/01/2015
Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction an imprint of Faber & Faber
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780571273645
Publication date: 29th January 2015
Author: Andrew O'Hagan
Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction an imprint of Faber & Faber
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 304 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Andrew O'Hagan

Andrew O’Hagan is one of his generation’s most exciting and most serious chroniclers of contemporary Britain and the part it plays in the world. He has twice been nominated for the Man Booker Prize. He was voted one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2003. He has won the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is editor at large of the London Review of Books and he lives in London.  Author photo © Broaddaylight  

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