In 1860, when they are just eight and ten, Lucy Strange and her brother Thomas are orphaned. Left now in the care of their uncle, the children begin slowly, frighteningly, to find their place in the difficult world. And so begins Lucy's adolescent journey of discovery, one which will take her away from her childhood home in Australia, first to London, then to Bombay and, finally, to her death, at the age of twenty-three. It is a life abbreviated, but not a life diminished. Lucy is a remarkable character, forthright, gifted and exuberant; she touches the lives of all who know her. Written in confident, finely interwoven and intricate layers, Sixty Lights is the powerful chronicle of a modern and independent young woman's life in the Victorian world. Objects evoke memories and hint at the future in a narrative that flows between pleats in time.Having thoroughly enjoyed Gail's previous interweaving of ideas of subjectivity with the specifities of certain representational media, I must admit, I'll be out finding a copy as soon as Sixty Lights hits the shelves! (To order Sixty Lights check any decent bookshop after Sept 2nd or click here.)
Through her observation of such objects Lucy's photographic vision is apparent. Her world is a series of still images which one day, printed on albumen paper, she will leave as affecting mementoes of her own extraordinary life.
The shortlist for the Booker is announced on 21 September, and the winner announced, as the official website tells us, "at an awards ceremony in the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster, London and will be broadcast live on BBC TWO and BBC FOUR".
Of Further Interest
For further information on Gail's earlier writing, check out the official website for her novel Black Mirror, and the Fremanlte Arts Centre Press website for details on Gail's two short-story collections Fetish Lives and The House of Breathing. (Also, an excerpt from The House of Breathing is available via Google Print.)
For interational readers looking for Gail's work, Amazon.co.uk carries: Sixty Lights, Black Mirror, The House of Breathing and Fetish Lives.