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Pieces of Light
by Adam Thorpe
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786706619, Hardcover)Hugh Arkwright was born in colonial Africa, into a lush and beautiful place where it was possible at times to "feel the earth's heartbeat in your feet." Adam Thorpe's third novel, Pieces of Light, begins in the form of a memoir, with Hugh looking back to this hot paradise, to a state of grace in which "all around the forest spoke." Of course he was destined to fall, and to have the forest taken from him, replaced by cold silence, a mother who disappeared, an adolescence in England on the brink of war.
The author of this daunting, often dazzling novel has published two other fictions--Ulverton and Still--and two volumes of verse, and his poetic gifts are in full force in the Africa sections. But when Pieces of Light shifts from dreamlike memoir into journal fragments, letters, and various other "real" documents, it loses momentum. As Hugh grows up and confronts the West's postlapsarian reality (he becomes a well-known theater director and watches the world shatter into war), it can be difficult to stick with his ponderous journey. Epic in length, the novel begs to be cut back, to be allowed its true solitary intimacy like the charms carved in the African wilderness. Thorpe is clearly a writer of wild gifts, yet Pieces of Light often feels like the work of a composer who wanted to write a love song but whose ego compelled him to write a symphony instead. --Emily White
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:38 -0400)
Hugh Arkwright's remote childhood in the Central African bush, and its sudden disruption, leaves him with a legacy of magic, mystery, and tragic loss. Late in his life, he returns to the gaunt house in Ulverton where he was brought up by his eccentric uncle, and finds that the old ghosts still walk. The more he excavates his own past, the deeper he finds the traces of ancient horrors. The autumnal air of Ulverton begins to take on the taint of corruption, and a mystery starts that ends with vengeance, murder and a sudden, staggering revelation. The mild English manners of the village of darkness beneath the heart of oak. PIECES OF LIGHT is a modern novel steeped in a resonant past; where rural England and colonial Africa collide. Densely wrought and vividly imagined, Adam Thorpe's return to Ulverton is a fictional triumph - thrilling and unforgettable.
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