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The Blind Light Reviews

The Blind Light by Stuart Evers

The Blind Light

Stuart Evers

3.38 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: Picador
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 11 Jun 2020
ISBN: 9781529030976

Sweeping from the 1950s to now, this deeply moving novel tells the interconnected story of two very different families, during a time of momentous change in twentieth-century Britain.

3 stars out of 5
Houman Barekat
28 Jun 2020

"A lightly sketched social history of postwar Britain"

The author conjures a sense of wistful nostalgia by doing strange things with syntax. Now and then an adjective will appear in the wrong part of a sentence, such as when Anneka’s brother, Nathan, “asks questions irrelevant and annoying”. On some occasions pronouns are dispensed with (“Believed this, clearly”), on others it is the verb that makes way: “How longed-for that kiss, how quick it over.” The mannered lyricism lends a corny flavour to the proceedings as Evers regales the reader with misty-eyed snapshots of everyday life: “The pubs would be heaving now. The pubs would be drunk by now. The pubs in their pomp now.”

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Alex Preston
27 Jun 2020

"A panoramic novel of modern Britain"

I’ve sometimes felt that Evers was an American author trapped in the body of a man from Cheshire, and this book has the scope of a Great American Novel, as encompassing and ecumenical as anything by Bellow or Franzen. But the real touchstone is Don DeLillo, and The Blind Light sent me straight back to White Noise, with which it is in direct and powerful dialogue. That Evers’s novel does not suffer by comparison is high praise indeed.

 
3 stars out of 5
18 Jun 2020

"The fear of total nuclear destruction looms over The Blind Light"

The slack is picked up to a certain extent by Evers’s ear for language. Lyrical but precise descriptions abound — the “golden caul” of a candle, the “precarious balance of the inherited and the acquired” in the hallway furnishings of Carter’s family home. “The words sounding fine, unslurred, unhurried, not too glassy” is the perfectly tuned evocation of a drunk trying to speak clearly. These are the moments when The Blind Light shines most brightly.

4 stars out of 5
Clare Clark
12 Jun 2020

"At its heart, the novel is a thoughtful and powerful study of the corrosive effects of fear"

A 544-page doorstopper, The Blind Light has been trumpeted by Evers’s publishers as a state-of-the-nation novel. Its range is certainly ambitious, a 60-year span from the Cuban missile crisis to 9/11 and the present-day war on terror, but rather than an overarching sweep, the author has distilled his narrative into a series of distinct vignettes years apart, each one set over a few days. His focus is close, even deliberately claustrophobic. Evers is excellent on the fine grain of friendship.