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Ten Seconds from the Sun by Russell Celyn…

Ten Seconds from the Sun

by Russell Celyn Jones

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254428,870 (3.5)3



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This is a novel of the genre I call psychological thrillers--think for example Ruth Rendell. Ray, a river pilot on the Thames, leads an ostensibly content life--good marriage, healthy and happy children, nice home and job. But Ray harbors a deep, dark secret from his past, something his wife, family and friends know nothing about, and one day that secret rears its ugly head. From then on, Ray makes some pretty poor decisions, digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself. To a certain extent it annoys me when characters in books do this--make decisions that are clearly going to end badly. I find myself wondering whether such a character, who has, as Ray, been painted as intelligent and decent, would realistically have made such decisions, or whether my own biases and belief that the decisions are wrong cause me to question the author's ability to develop realistic characters.

Putting this quibble aside, this book explores the interesting theme of whether there are some deeds, including in this instance deeds committed as a child, that can never be atoned for. (This was a theme in another book I read a few years ago that I think is a better book than this one, Boy A by Jonathan Trigell.)

I also enjoyed the background of river navigation on the Thames aspect of this book.

3 stars ( )
1 vote arubabookwoman | Sep 12, 2015 |
This was an odd read – some great writing that you sail effortlessly through, interspersed with some yawnworthy stretches – thinking particularly of the long descriptions of river navigation – that drag like a dredger stuck in the mud. Not to mention a tendency towards unexpected jump-shifts from calm to turmoil in the blinking of an eye: the car crash (fine, that’s the way they happen) the drama on the beach (to be honest I’m not sure what that section contributed to the whole).

Despite any misgivings I had about the style, this has to be a five star review as far as I’m concerned, because once you get a couple of chapters in the story demands to be read. There is a tabloidy fascination about the plot, not necessarily a bad thing. I read it with a feeling of foreboding lodged in the pit of my stomach. You know what is going to happen and are powerless to prevent it but you have to see how it plays out. Celestine was a particularly brilliant character – causer of so much aggro and yet surely worthy of sympathy too. So much to think about. Not a novel I’ll forget in a hurry. ( )
  jayne_charles | Sep 11, 2013 |
It started off so well. I loved the idea behind the story- it was different. A married man is hiding the fact that he killed his sister when he was twelve, and his half-sister turns up to let his secret out. It had a lot of promise, and the start of the book was really compelling. The middle was very dull, and extremely uninteresting. It does pick up by the end but it was too late by then. ( )
  nicola26 | Mar 30, 2013 |
An interesting thriller about a man who committed a mistake with extreme consequences when he was younger and he finds that even 20 years later the mistake still haunts him. I was a little let down by the end but it was a pretty good story over all. ( )
  sunfi | Jul 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0349117799, Paperback)

A breathtakingly visceral psychological thriller from the author of Surface Tension, which Booklist—in a starred review—praised as "intelligent, original, stylish, ambitious, and brilliantly etched."
Russell Celyn Jones is the author of five previous novels; he is a regular reviewer for the London Times and a former Booker Prize judge.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:45 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Ray Greenland is an exemplary family man and River Thames pilot who can navigate people safely in the here and now, whilst his wife Lily, in her capacity as a director of a dating agency, arranges their happy future. But Ray hides a dark secret, a secret which could resurface at any time and ruin his tranquil life. Originally published: London: Lit.… (more)

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