When the Lights Go Out (Hardback)Carys Bray (author)
- 10+ in stock
'This is a powerful and truthful story about hope and how to find it' THE TIMES
'Wry, beautifully written . . . it works on many levels' DAILY MAIL
'Bray's satire shines with observation and subtlety' GUARDIAN
'She writes with a quiet formidable brilliance. Her observations on relationships are acute, painful and extremely funny. This is a gem of a book.' EMILY MAITLIS
Global temperatures are rising.
The climate of the Abrams' marriage is cooling.
Emma is beginning to wonder whether relationships, like mortgages, should be conducted in five-year increments. She might laugh if Chris had bought a motorbike or started dyeing his hair. Instead he's buying off-label medicines and stockpiling food.
Chris finds Emma's relentless optimism exasperating. A tot of dread, a nip of horror, a shot of anger - he isn't asking much. If she would only join him in a measure of something.
The family's precarious eco-system is further disrupted by torrential rains, power cuts and the unexpected arrival of Chris's mother. Emma longs to lower a rope and winch Chris from the pit of his worries. But he doesn't want to be rescued or reassured - he wants to pull her in after him.
Darkly funny and beautifully written, When the Lights Go Out is a novel for our times: a story about cultivating hope and weathering change.
'So timely, and so deeply human, a novel which takes us right into the heart of a marriage and at the same time grapples with the most crucial issue of our age. It's bursting with compassion and wisdom.' SHELLEY HARRIS, author of JUBILEE
'Through exquisite use of language and observation, she examines the intricacies of family life in ways which have you laughing one moment and biting your nails with worry the next.' SARAH FRANKLIN, author of SHELTER
'With characteristic wit and humanity, Bray shows us the necessity and the impossibility of preparing for disaster, and reminds us of both the fragility and capacity of love.' JENN ASHWORTH, author of A KIND OF INTIMACY and FELL
'I think WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT is exactly the novel we need in these times: it's complex, nuanced, and compassionate, frightening and heartening. I think Carys has written something truly extraordinary and I hope it flies. I'll certainly be cheering it on.' STEPHANIE BUTLAND
'Gorgeously written... funny and compassionate... I found it very affecting.' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, 2020 Pick of the Year
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 453 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 144 mm
Bray's satire shines with observation and subtlety . . . With sharp wit, Bray teases out the tiny domestic dramas, identifying the pinch points that can make the most solid relationships briefly or permanently unendurable. Bray shows how the most well-regulated household can still tremble on the brink of collapse. What message could be more timely than that? * Guardian *
[O]ne of the best things you'll read: warm, witty and wise. * i paper *
Bray is brilliant in her explorations of the delicate ecosystem of a long marriage. * Financial Times *
It's a fresh, topical perspective, told expertly by Bray, a lapsed Mormon herself... When the Lights Go Out ultimately asks a pertinent question: what does it mean to be good, or happy, or prepared, and which of these is most important? In the end, Bray's characters are forced to accept that they don't know - which, in this age of social media-heightened political division that seems to encourage dogmatism, is a welcome tonic. * Sunday Times *
When the Lights Go Out is a triumph. Richly metaphorical, impeccably dramatised, beautifully plotted, and so lifelike it seems to lift off the page . . . It has voices: Milton, Shakespeare, Keats, Edgar Alan Poe, Dylan Thomas and the Bible. It has ghosts: of Eden, Job, the Flood and Judgement Day. It has Christmas carols, closing down notices, protest slogans and commandments written in stone. It takes place at a tangent to the world we currently inhabit and we wake from reading it as if from a dream. The dream is that the world is ending and we are in need of a miracle. The book is a small miracle itself. Carys Bray has given us a perfect example of how to write a novel. -- Grace McCleen
[A] wry, beautifully-written but nonetheless worrying tale. [...] It works on many levels; sanctimonious Chris, fixated on the planet's problems, fails to recognise those right under his nose, within his own marriage. And the eventual disaster that engulfs everyone is of his doing, not the ozone layer [...] [I]t is superb on family dynamics. * Daily Mail *
Carys Bray writes with a quiet formidable brilliance. Her observations on relationships are acute, painful and extremely funny. This is a gem of a book. -- Emily Maitlis
Bray has a knack of dealing with weighty themes with the lightest of touches. -- Best New Fiction * Mail on Sunday *
In a literary landscape in which cultural and political "timeliness" too often trumps artistry, it is a relief to discover there are still novels being written that confront the great questions of the day with nuance, skill and artistry. * Irish Times *
You may also be interested in...
“Marriage set against climate change”
Chris and Emma's marriage is in trouble, each trying to find the best way to deal with difficult situations. As Chris starts to lose his business - gardening and lawn maintenance - due to the ravages of climate... More
“A Poignant Read”
Was there a more appropriate time to review this book just as storm Ciara hit the UK and images of flooded Britain filled my phone screen? It certainly made my reading of this book much more topical.
Despite being... More
“Emma is preparing for Christmas while Chris is preparing for societal collapse”
When The Lights Go Out is a funny and honest examination of a marriage and of family life. It is the story of Emma and Chris Abrams, a married couple living in the North West with their teenage sons. Both Emma and... More
Please sign in to write a review
Would you like to proceed to the App store to download the Waterstones App?
Please note that owing to current COVID-19 restrictions, many of our shops are closed. Find out more by clicking here.