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When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray


When the Lights Go Out by Carys Bray
UK Publication: November 2020
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Why does it always rain on me…

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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

My Thoughts:  Well the synopsis actually does an excellent job of telling you what this book is about to put it in a single sentence “the collapse of a relationship in a collapsing world”.

What is really clever with the story is that Bray takes the timely issue of climate change and presents both sides of the story without actually giving away which side she is on. Respect.

The characters are totally realistic and I recognised myself and members of my circle within them. It currently being December this was a timely read as I lived the build up to Christmas vicariously through Emma. The relentless rain is also relatable living as I do in England and having experienced the exact same phenomenon first hand along with the societal and familial pressures it brings.

While this might sound like a bleak book (and in many respects it is) there is still some great dark humour lurking in the background and let’s face it life isn’t all roses so why should fiction be.

I also loved the way little events that seem like throwaway details end up contributing to a very powerful “what if” scenario.

Who would like this? This book is for those who love a dark family drama with a touch of current affairs shown in for good measure. This is a slow paced book that is best enjoyed at leisure and dare I say it read it now as the setting is the build up to Christmas and the timing really immersed me in the story.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I loved this novel. The way narration moved from one family member to the next was beautiful thank you for sharing with us


    December 28, 2022

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