Pieces of Light * Adam Thorpe book review

“You’re making a connection again, aren’t you?”
“What connection, my sweet?”
“Between your uncle and Hitler”

There are loads of other connections made. This book should be called the Missed Connections. This is the story of Hugh Arkwright who grew up in Central Africa, in Cameron. He suddenly moved to England to his uncle’s estate in Ulverton where the house looks gaunt and the grass is soft.
This sudden disruption leaves him with a legacy of magic, mystery, and tragic loss. The more he excavates his own past, the deeper he finds the traces of ancient horrors. The autumnal air of Ulverton begins to take on the taint of corruption, and a mystery starts that ends with vengeance, murder and a sudden, staggering revelation. The mild English manners of the village of darkness beneath the heart of oak. Pieces of Light is a modern novel steeped in a resonant past; where rural England and colonial Africa collide.

The book starts well, the first 7 chapters or so are amazing. Hugh’s life in Africa, the Gorilla incident, the adventures in the bush. I even found his transplantation to pre-war England at the age of seven exciting. His eccentric uncle was obsessed with the wildwood and paganism – and the leopard society which carried out human sacrifice.
The second part of the book gets on a downward slope. Hugh goes through the war, gets into acting, becomes a director and goes insane. Utterly disenchanted.

Everybody in Ulverton can feel my finger pass over them as a shadow, a little chill. This is the kind of thing I did in the war, Mother, as an observer, bent over huge maps of German towns and cities, of forests and fields and limber rivers.

Solid 2/5

Depressing and slow. You can’t be interested enough to read it..

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