The Blind Light
by Stuart Evers
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Pub Date 13 Oct 2020 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2020
A bold and brilliant multigenerational novel of two families bound together by the tides of history and the bittersweet complexity of love.
England, 1959: two young soldiers—Drummond and Carter—form an intense and unlikely friendship at “Doomtown,”, a training center that recreates the aftermath of atomic warfare. The experience will haunt them the rest of their lives. Years later, Carter, now a high-ranking government official, offers working-class Drummond a way to protect himself and his wife, Gwen, should a nuclear strike occur. Their pact, kept secret, will have devastating consequences for the families they so wish to protect.
The Blind Light is a grand, ambitious novel that spans decades, from the 1950s to the present. Told from the perspectives of Drum and Gwen, and later their children, Nate and Anneka, the story brilliantly captures the tenderness and envy of long relationships. As the families attempt to reform themselves, the pressures of the past are visited devastatingly on the present, affecting spouses, siblings, and friends.
Stuart Evers writes with literary verve and intellect without ever abandoning the pleasures and emotional intensity of great storytelling. He explores the psychological legacy of nuclear war and social inequality, yet finds a delicate beauty in the adventure of making a life in the ruins of the one you lived before.
"This engrossing tale from Evers (Your Father Sends His Love) revolves around two men, Drum Moore and Jim Carter, who meet in 1959 at a civil defense base known as Doom Town, where they work on nuclear war simulations.... With its slow burn, Evers’s vivid, perceptive chronicle of secrets and desperation satisfies." - Publishers Weekly
"Page-perfect and impeccably structured...a powerful and affecting novel."--Jim Crace, author of Harvest
“A thoughtful and powerful study of the corrosive effects of fear, the damage we do to ourselves and our loved ones when danger is all we can see. Right now that story feels disconcertingly timely.” - Clare Clark, Guardian
"The Blind Light reads like a British Don DeLillo, telling the social history of Britain through two generations of a family." - Alex Preston, Observer
"One is taken both by the breadth of vision and the depth of character on offer in Stuart Evers' stunning The Blind Light. Rarely does a novel of this scope sing with such brio at the level of the sentence while searing so emphatically in the region of the heart. This is an achievement to be admired and, frankly, envied. My hat is off." -- Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 89 members
A brilliant read a book of friends ,life family.I was immediately drawn into the story I so absorbed I didn’t want to stop reading leave their world and get busy in the real world again.A special read an author who writes words that stay with you.Highly recommend this special book & author.#netgalley #ww,norton
This is about friendship, family, and relationships, and it is literary, so there's no action or suspense, etc. It's well written and the characters are well flushed out. It's mostly engaging, and potentially a thinker's tale, since the writing can be deep and nuanced. Recommended for literary fans.
Thanks very much for the ARC for review!!
4.5 stars. Really beautiful book about friendship, families, secrets, and the effects of all on each intertwined life. I would say the Blind Light = that which blinds you from reality.
"The year is 1959. Two young soldiers, Drummond and Carter—one working-class, the other privileged—form an intense and unlikely friendship at “Doomtown,” a training center that simulates the aftermath of an atomic strike. Years later, the men watch in horror as the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis unfold. Carter, now a high-ranking British government official, offers Drummond a way to save himself and his family in the event of a nuclear strike. Their pact, kept secret, will have devastating consequences for the very lives they seek to protect.
Spanning decades, from the 1950s to the present, this ambitious, original novel offers a nuanced and absorbing portrait of friendship and rivalry that explores class divisions and the psychological legacy of the nuclear age."
The book is really so much more than this synopsis tells you. Drummond never really gets over their time at Doom Town, and makes a series of decisions/pacts with Carter than change the course of his life and those of his family. Drum's obsession with being safe from what he considers to be the inevitable nuclear war changes his childrens lives permanently, as well as his own. The novel touches on each decade from the 1950s to the present. Each decade is suffused with details that make each time period come alive.
Thanks to NetGalley for the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.
This is a beautifully-written, ambitious book. While I'm not sure that author Stuart Evers hit all the marks he had set for himself, there's so much to like. Evers' eye for detail and ear for just the right word are unmatched.
The depiction of relationships -- between male friends, spouse, parents and children, and above all between social classes -- is memorable. Evers' nihilistic view seemed to percolate down into the most intimate dealings. Was there a close, loving relationship to be found among the entire lot (Neka's and Rob's, perhaps)?
I missed something, however, in the "theme" of nuclear holocaust, unless it stood as a metaphor for the general dread we all seem to feel about terrorism, pandemics and the hostility of the world at large. In any case, it's a powerful retrospective of the past 60 years.
Thanks to NetGalley and W.W. Norton & Co. for an advance readers' copy.
There was something very compelling about the writing that kept me reading this one. Carter and Drummond met and became friends at 'Doomtown', a training center that simulates the aftermath of an atomic war. Carter is wealthy and privileged; Drummond was working-class. This book follows their inter-related lives through some major global crises - the Cuban missile crisis, bombings by the IRA, ISIS, and more - that could have spawned a nuclear threat. There are also family dramas playing out in the friends' families.
The writing is descriptive and atmospheric. It was so well written it kept me entranced, and even though there is not a lot of action most of the time, the story moved well in my opinion. The family dynamics were the best part for me.
Thanks to W. W. Norton & Company through Netgalley for an advance copy.
Received this book from Netgalley. At first I wasn't enjoying it, but once I got into it, I loved the story & how the author wrote about their lives spanning into their children's. I enjoy reading about different things happening in the world at different times. By the end of thus book, I loved it.
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