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The Illuminations by Andrew O'Hagan
  

The Illuminations

Literary Fiction   All Shortlists and Winners   Family Drama   eBook Favourites   
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One of our Books of the Year 2015.

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

If you like Andrew O'Hagan you might also like to read books by Sebastian Barry, Peter Carey and Colm Toibin.


The Good Book Guide logo 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.
~ Anthony Lafferty

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Synopsis

The Illuminations by Andrew O'Hagan

How much do we keep from the people we love? Why is the truth so often buried in secrets? Can we learn from the past or must we forget it? 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.

About the Author

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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Book Info

Publication date

31st December 2015

Author

Andrew O'Hagan

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Publisher

Faber & Faber

Format

Paperback
320 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780571273669

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