The Gift of Life | Light Perpetual | Review

Something a bit different today as I realised I was reading a lot of Science Fiction and Fantasy books this month.

Today I’m reviewing Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford, which I can only describe as historical fiction. Many thanks to Faber for the eproof copy!


November 1944.

A German rocket incinerates a South-London household-goods store and five young lives are atomised in an instant.

Jo and Valerie and Alec and Ben and Vernon are gone.

But what if it were possible to resurrect them – to let them experience the extraordinary, unimaginable changes of the twentieth century; to live out all the personal triumphs and disasters, the second chances and redemptions denied to them?

What kind of future would there be for clever, impulsive Alec?

What would happen to Val in the world of men, beckoning beyond her all-female household?

What would become of Vern’s greed – and his helplessness in the face of song?

Would light or darkness fill Ben’s fragile mind?

And where would Jo go, with the music playing in her head?

Ingenious and profound, full of warmth and beauty, Light Perpetual is a story of the everyday, the miraculous and the everlasting – a sweeping and intimate celebration of the gift of life.

Netgalley Review

I rather enjoyed Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and so was intrigued to read this. The first chapter is completely unlike the rest and the following chapters following the characters goes to show how human they all are. There’s no ‘proper’ happy ending for anyone, or that’s how I felt. They all appeared to be happy in their own way and dealt with struggles along the way. An intriguing and well-written book.

Star Rating 3.5 Stars

Having re-read the blurb to write this review I feel like this sentence sums the book up perfectly: ‘a story of the everyday, the miraculous and the everlasting – a sweeping and intimate celebration of the gift of life.’

When I first read the blurb to Light Perpetual I likened the novel to Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, which I read a year or so ago, following a life (or in this case, lives) if things had gone differently. In Light Perpetual this is what happens if the bomb didn’t hit.

The first chapter is a focus on said bomb before Francis takes us on a journey of time spurts (new word!) to various different times of the characters lives, focusing on maybe 3 or all of the characters in each chapter.

We see the characters go through various different lives, featuring; mental health, loss, marriage, children, drugs, through from life at school, the ‘swinging sixties’ to the 2000s. It’s a very human experience. No character is left unscathed by life, and reading this as a 20-something, it’s a reminder that good and bad days will happen and that’s just life, there’s more to come, there’s more to happen.

As always, let me know in the comments below if you’ve read the book and what you thought of it. And if you haven’t, will you be adding Light Perpetual to your TBR this month?


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