Francis Spufford’s entertaining romp of a first novel Golden Hill rightfully won him an armful of awards, and everyone was eager to see what would come next.
Light Perpetual begins with the premise of a world altered, a ‘what if’ scenario where a V2 rocket would not hit a London Woolworths and instead the lives of five children within continue through history. We connect with these characters in fifteen year time jumps, catching up with them as they age through life, and mature into old age.
Rather than an existential parallel-world-maguffin of a novel, what the author lays out is simple, beautiful and heart-breaking – an unwitting history of Postwar Britain as seen through the eyes of these ‘spared’ characters. Although perhaps a surprise for some who expected more period-style capers, Light Perpetual is a powerful bit of writing, and has a remarkably moving and delicate touch as the protagonists navigate difficult times and experience more of the world. The end result is thoughtful, uplifting, and wholly satisfying.
(review by Cliff)