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The Lighted Rooms by Richard Mason

The Lighted Rooms

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A number of themes are covered in this book from aging, to family relationships to war.

Joan is suffering from Alzheimer's, her high flying daughter has put in her in a home, unable to cope with her mother, as well as the demands of a high flying job. The Boer War comes in to the plot through the diaries of Joan’s grandmother and her accounts of time in a concentration camp and Joan’s desire to find out what really happened to her family. The themes of how society judges and treats people whether is be on the grounds of race, sex or age makes for a very thought provoking read.

If you like Richard Mason you might also like to read books by Ian McEwan, Julian Fellowes and Andrea Levy.


The Lighted Rooms by Richard Mason

Joan McAllistair is about to embark on the 'Trip of a Lifetime' with her daughter Eloise; a journey back to her childhood South Africa and the family homestead in the old Boer Republic of the Orange Free State.

For Eloise, the trip is partly a gift, partly a means of assuaging her guilt at moving her mother into a care home. For Joan, the discovery of her grandmother's journal transports her to the troubled times of the Anglo-Boer war. Eloise, in the meantime, has gambled her business's entire fortune on a promise made by an old lover.

As their stories unravel, Joan takes increasing refuge in the landscape of her mind - in journeys to her own past. She also finds an unexpected friend in a lonely teenager who shares her fascination with history.


'a moving and uplifting novel by a writer at the height of his powers' SAINSBURY'S MAGAZINE

About the Author

Richard Mason

Richard Mason was born in South Africa in 1978 to activist parents who settled in England when he was ten. Brought up and educated here, he wrote his first novel, The Drowning People, whilst a nineteen-year-old at Oxford. In the intervening years, Richard finished his degree, then set up an educational charity in memory of his sister Kay, who died as a child. Under Desmond Tutu's patronage, the Kay Mason Foundation provides scholarships to disadvantaged South African children, paying for them to attend some of the country's best schools.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st May 2009


Richard Mason

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Orion Publishing Co


528 pages


Literary Fiction
Reading Groups
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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