#245 The Light of Day

Firstly I’d like to apologise for the break in my posts – I’ve had a minor crisis with wordpress and haven’t been able to blog since my last entry ! So I now have a backlog of books to write about (I started to try and slow down my reading so I wouldn’t start forgetting them… !).
Secondly before I start I need to share a recent revelation (and as this is the only ‘major’ change I’ve made to my blog in some time I feel it may be responsible for the aforementioned problem): a few weeks ago I added an “alphabetical” page to my blog, which has the 1001 books listed in alphabetical order by surname (surprise surprise) which has completely revolutionised and speeded up my book selection process massively. The next time I went to my local library (where I was beginning to fear I had exhausted the supply of books contained in the list) I picked out 3 books within 5 minutes. The only downside of this is that they aren’t necessarily books I’d choose immediately (and yes I know I will have to read them all eventually) so I have picked out a couple that I’m not completely thrilled about reading, but you never know they could turn out to be better than expected. So, in essence, it’s speeded up the selection process but not necessarily my reading as a whole.
Graham Swift isn’t an author I’d heard of or encountered before: a quick google tells me he’s an English author and a second look at the list shows I still have another of his books in store. The Light of Day tells the story of a private detective who has fallen in love with one of his former clients: a woman who’d hired him to ensure the woman with whom her husband had been having an affair had really left the county, marking the end of their affair. When George Webb rings Sarah to deliver the good news he initially expects that to be the last time he makes contact with her, but from some sort of gut instinct he ends up going to her house, arriving shortly after her returning husband – who she has just killed.
George recounts the tale, which is interlaced with the present and his own history as he considers his childhood detection of his own father’s affair, his ejection from the police force (unjustly it could be argued) and his bi monthly regular visits to Sarah in prison. As far as I could tell he never offers a concrete reason for his dogged loyalty to Sarah, who initially denied his visits (unsurprisingly, as they’d only had a handful of exchanges before the murder) so I can only assume it was some sort of overwhelming, incomprehensible attraction, but the overall impression that I got was slightly pathetic, rather than romantic. I suppose given how dramatic the murder itself was, the style of the narrative is incredibly banal in comparison, which in itself is humanising (and I guess good in that it doesn’t glorify violence or gore). That said, it wasn’t particularly gripping and I’m not sure how much I’d recommend it – perhaps as a book to study, but definitely not as a first choice for leisure.

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