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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

1001 Book Update - The Light of Day

If you visit New York City, a great place to go is the Strand. It's a chain of used/new bookstores here in the city. Their logo is bright red (you can't miss it) which proudly proclaims "18 Miles of Books". Nice!

For some reason my husband and I were out on 59th Street on the south corner of Central Park. The Strand was doing a sidewalk sale of books so I had to check it out. I found Graham Swift's book, The Light of Day and had to pick it up because 1) it's on the 1001 to-read list and 2) he wrote one of my favorite books. Graham Swift is a British author and he won the Booker Prize for his book The Last Orders. I read The Last Orders for a class and absolutely loved it. I definitely recommend The Last Orders. It's about a group of older men, friends for years and years who always meet up at a Pub in England. When one of them dies, the rest are left to carry out the last orders (last wish) of their friend. A wonderful book.

I guess that's why The Light of Day wasn't my favorite book. It wasn't bad, just not great. And I was expecting greatness. The book's central character is a private investigator who used to be a cop but was disgraced. He now investigates spouses who are cheating. (Hasn't this plot been done just one too many times?) I will give it the Graham Swift that the plot did swerve to the original. The story telling was not linear but took place on the two year anniversary of a fateful day. The P.I. had taken a case and had gotten too emotionally involved. The case obviously takes a tragic turn. I have to admit that while the first half was a struggle to keep reading, I was a bit hooked to read it through to the end. In it's non-linear format I wanted to fill in all the gaps in the story and had to finish the book.

If you are going to read a Graham Swift book I definitely recommend The Last Orders over the Light of Day. If you are wanting a good detective book, The Light of Day isn't too bad. But I was expecting great.

Other people's reviews:
Placemats Galore


  1. I think you're right about the plot having been done before. Still, I thought the plot had potential to be beautiful and emotional, but the prose bugged me, as did the non-linear style.

  2. I agree with the non-linear style being a bit much. At first I didn't know if I was going to get through the book because I was bugged by the constant jumping around. Thanks for the comment! I just picked up The Colour by Rose Tremain at the library too.

  3. Ha! The Colour - I found that in the library, but it looked like really awful historical fiction, and I'd just read some of that in the form of 'The Red Queen' by Margaret Drabble, and I didn't think I could cope with any more for now. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it1


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