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Enlightenment

Sarah Perry

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$34.99

Paperback

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English
JONATHAN CAPE
01 May 2024
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A story of love and astronomy told over the course of twenty years through the lives of two improbable best friends

A story of love and astronomy told over the course of twenty years through the lives of two improbable best friends

'A complete masterwork' SARAH HALL

'A kind of quantum novel, one that asks us to question conventional linear narratives and recognise instead what is ever-present...truth, beauty and love' OBSERVER

Thomas Hart and Grace Macauley are fellow worshippers at the Bethesda Baptist chapel in the small Essex town of Aldleigh. Though separated in age by three decades, the pair are kindred spirits - torn between their commitment to religion and their desire for more. But their friendship is threatened by the arrival of love.

Thomas falls for James Bower, who runs the local museum. Together they develop an obsession with the vanished nineteenth-century female astronomer Maria Veduva, said to haunt a nearby manor. Inspired by Maria, and the dawning realisation James may not reciprocate his feelings, Thomas finds solace studying the night skies. Could astronomy offer as much wonder as divine or earthly love?

Meanwhile Grace meets Nathan, a fellow sixth former who represents a different, wilder kind of life. They are drawn passionately together, but quickly pulled apart, casting Grace into the wider world and far away from Thomas.

In time, the mysteries of Aldleigh are revealed, bringing Thomas and Grace back to each other and to a richer understanding of love, of the nature of the world, and the sheer miracle of being alive.

'Like Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries and AS Byatt's Possession,

Enlightenment

is a baroque, genre-bending novel of ideas, ghosts, and hidden histories.' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

By:  
Imprint:   JONATHAN CAPE
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 154mm,  Spine: 29mm
Weight:   488g
ISBN:   9781787335004
ISBN 10:   1787335003
Pages:   400
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sarah Perry is the internationally best-selling author of the novels Melmoth, The Essex Serpent and After Me Comes the Flood, and the non-fiction Essex Girls. She is a winner of the Waterstone's Book of the Year Award and the British Book of the Year Award and has been nominated for major literary prizes including the Women's Prize for Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Folio Prize and the Costa Novel Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has a PhD in Creative Writing.

Reviews for Enlightenment

It’s glorious, doing what her books do best: intertwining a love story with reams of esoteric learning and big ideas… This is a beautiful, memorable novel * Observer, *Books to Look Out For 2024* * Enlightenment is a complete masterwork — ambitious, crafted, truly artful. With its intersections of faith, physics, love and wisdom, I imagine we will be quoting lines from the novel for years to come. It holds page after page of luminous prose, playful intelligence, storyteller’s wit and companionship, and the rarest compassion. Like the comets within, the reader travels headlong through the book’s darkness and beauty, alongside universal laws and mysteries, aligning with both human matter and spirit. Sarah Perry is an extraordinary maker, of unique mind, sensibility and gifts; her writing is, as ever, lit by sheer brilliance -- Sarah Hall, author of The Electric Michelangelo A genre-bending novel of ideas, ghosts and hidden histories... A heartfelt paean to the consolations of the sublime, where religion and science meet * Telegraph * Once again Sarah Perry has gifted us with an ambitious story impeccably imagined in poignant prose; a beautifully nuanced novel of love in all its aspects, artfully marrying faith and science into something truly beguiling -- Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of Pandora A book in which everything is kindled into light by Sarah Perry’s rapt, luminous attention: friendship, betrayal, faith, astronomy, the drizzle on the streets of Essex and the heavens above them -- Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill A book about grace, written with a faith in awe and in elemental love, Enlightenment is full of both ordinary and extraordinary wonders. Sarah Perry has brought all her wide empathy and joy to this novel: its characters are rich and vivid and tenderly human. Enlightenment is not only a book that seems to redeem its world, but to redeem its readers. It is a gift -- Seán Hewitt, author of All Down Darkness Wide Attuned to the fragile intimacies between lovers and friends, and acutely aware of the devastating cruelties that are routinely meted out between strangers, Enlightenment is a mesmerizing work of wondering and wonder. Filled with quiet epiphanies into the intricacies of the human condition filtered through the lens of science and religion, this is a profound and moving novel that invites the reader to regard the world around them with a more compassionate gaze -- Mary Jean Chan, author of Flèche Gorgeous, galvanic, omniscient, intimate and eminently giving, Enlightenment is a novel to live with and learn by. As I read it, I felt housed by it. And, damn, did the house have skylights. Sarah Perry is a national treasure, and this is her best book yet -- Caoilinn Hughes, author of Orchid and the Wasp Sarah Perry has the rare gift of committing the uncommittable to prose - that is to say: here is a writer who understands life -- Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist Perry seamlessly blends an absorbing mystery with her principal characters’ personal conflicts to create a narrative as propulsive as it is emotionally resonant. Swiftly sketched but fully realized secondary characters give the novel a social texture more commonly found in Victorian literature, an impression bolstered by Perry’s intricately layered prose. Much of the story is sad, but a radiant finale suggests reconciliation and renewal. Thoughtful, sensitive and beautifully written * Kirkus, *Starred Review* *


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