Read In Another Light by Andrew Greig Online


'Two small, confined communities in which established connections are cut across by shifting allegiances as people come and go: in cold climate as in hot, now as then, love is a complicated, compromising business' Times Literary Supplement.A young man leans over the railings of the ocean liner bound for the exotic shores of Penang. It is early in the 1930s and Dr Alexander'Two small, confined communities in which established connections are cut across by shifting allegiances as people come and go: in cold climate as in hot, now as then, love is a complicated, compromising business' Times Literary Supplement.A young man leans over the railings of the ocean liner bound for the exotic shores of Penang. It is early in the 1930s and Dr Alexander Mackay is on his way to take up his post running a maternity hospital in the colony. During the voyage he meets two beautiful sisters and the seeds of a scandal are sown.Seventy years later Edward Mackay wakes after a major brain trauma. In the hazy shadowlands of illness, he conjures the figure of his dead father, a man he knew so little about. This near-death experience provokes a move to the wilds of Orkney, where Edward joins a project to harness the tides around the island as a renewable source of energy. But in the tight-knit island community passions also run high....

Title : In Another Light
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780753820070
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 498 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

In Another Light Reviews

  • Leah
    2019-01-29 16:09

    Timor mortis conturbat me...After a narrow escape from death as a result of a cyst in his brain, Eddie Mackay is obsessed with thoughts of his own mortality. While lying semi-conscious in hospital, he is 'visited' by his long-dead father who seems to want to tell him something. He learns from his mother that his father once had an affair in Penang, back in the late colonial days of the 1930s, and becomes engrossed in trying to find out more about this period of his father's life. The book takes the form of two stories running in parallel – Eddie's recuperation from his illness on Orkney and his father's story as a young doctor in Penang, with the links being provided by Eddie's slow research into his father's life. Both strands involve the complicated love affairs of father and son.The writing is excellent and Greig brings both very different locations to life. The contrasts between the wild, windswept cold of an Orkney winter and the tropical heat and sudden rains of Penang are vivid and beautifully described. Each society is a small, enclosed one – Orkney by virtue of its island remoteness, and Penang where the colonials remain a separate group within the wider population – and each is a place where secrets are hard to keep, where everyone knows everyone else's business. Eddie, as the main focus of the novel, is particularly well drawn as a man struggling to deal with the aftermath of a traumatic experience, and trying to find something to give his life new meaning. Sandy, the father, is a little less well developed, and indeed this is true of most of the other characters, who seem sometimes to be 'types' rather than people. The characters in the Penang section in particular are a little too stereotypical, as if drawn from the fiction of the era rather than from life. But the Orkney side of the story works much better, giving a completely credible picture of a small society now expanded by incomers who both conform to and yet impact on the traditions of the place.So, much to praise about the book. Unfortunately, I have a total antipathy to literary fiction that, however beautifully written, doesn't have a decent plot, and I'm afraid this falls into that category. The Penang story is about Sandy's love affair, and we are pretty much told how that ends before it begins. The Orkney story is about middle-aged Eddie's sex-affair (to call it a love-affair would be stretching it) with Mica, the half-crazed woman he sleeps with on an occasional basis. The strand about Eddie's research into his father's past is rather pointless for the most part and ends with a totally contrived and unbelievable denouement. It feels as if it only exists as an excuse to link the two stories. The book might have worked better if it was shorter, but it drags on for 500 pages, much of which is filled with repeated descriptions of the landscape, weather and culture of the two locations. I'm afraid 500 pages of slow-moving, upmarket romance is too much for me, unless it provides some insight into the ever-nebulous 'human condition', and I felt this doesn't particularly. The question of Eddie's fear of mortality is raised many times, but insufficiently examined to provide any feeling of real depth.As always, it's a matter of personal taste. I'm hesitant to criticise too harshly because as I've said there's much to admire, and many readers I'm sure will find the parallel romances sufficient to hold their attention, especially given the interesting locations. But for me fine writing, excellent descriptions and good characterisation are only part of what makes for great literary fiction – it must also have either a strong story or a profundity to it, or preferably both, and unfortunately I didn't find much of either in this one.

  • Joan Fallon
    2019-01-19 14:50

    What a magnificent book - I never wanted it to end. Greig has such a delightful way with language, whether local Scots or English. He is also a poet and this is very evident in his lyrical prose. In Another Light is the moving story of two men - father and son. The son, recently recovering from a near-death illness becomes obsessed with learning more about his father's life before he met his mother. The novel is set partly in Penang, where the father served as a medical officer, and partly in Orkney, where the son is working on a renewable energy project. The story of the father twists and turns and at times runs parallel to the son's life until it all comes together in the last few pages. It is a fast moving plot and the mystery surrounding his father is revealed clue by clue, with a final twist to the mystery right at the end.

  • Mrsgaskell
    2019-01-29 12:17

    Not only was this an engrossing story, it is beautifully written by this novelist who is also a poet. I’m surprised the author doesn’t appear to be all that well-known – I previously really enjoyed The Clouds Above (and so did my husband). After a near-death experience, Edward MacKay is fixated on his own mortality and the need to know more about his father who died seventeen years previously. The chapters alternate between Edward’s present-day life in Orkney, working on a wave power project, and his father’s sea-crossing and subsequent life in 1930s Penang as head obstetrician. Greig evocatively brings to life Penang society in the days of British Empire. From his mother, Edward is given to understand that Sandy MacKay (known to them strictly as Alexander) had an affair and left Penang under a cloud, only marrying much later in life, after his return to Scotland. There is little physical evidence remaining from Sandy MacKay’s time in Penang, a Buddha figurine, a double-one domino and a photo. But with the help of an elderly lady and a young woman, and newspaper archives, Edward is eventually able to piece together much of the story. From his increased understanding of his father, he is able to begin to make sense of his own life and loves.

  • Sequelguerrier
    2019-01-21 13:54

    I have met Greig first through a crime novel romp called 'Romanno Bridge' and followed that up with the prequel of that book 'The Return of John Macnab'. I had enjoyed both of them combining humour and a ripping good tale with the beautiful landscapes of Scotland and some quirky characters with depth. So I picked up 'In Another Light' looking for more of the same and was positively disappointed by a much larger and more serious work that yet retained Greig's excellent eye both for character and nature. Greig has the rare gift of making you care for characters that are not necessarily on the face of it only likeable. The story is of the recovery middle aged Edward who suffers a dramatic cerebral accident and nearly dies. He exiles himself to Orkney to rebuild or build anew his life and the story of his is paralleled by his discovery of parts of his dead father's life that he never heard about. The Edwardian age and the 21st Century intermingle as do the island worlds of Orkney and Penang. The writing is brilliant, careful, full of small detail that brings the worlds he describes alive. This is a book that deserves to be read slowly even if you feel like rushing ahead to know what really happened with Edward's dad.

  • Margaret
    2019-01-24 16:59

    This story is set in 1930's Penang, where Sandy MacKay has been appointed to head the Obstetrics unit at the hospital there, and the Orkneys, where his son Eddie is living and working as he recovers from a near-death experience. Both men have choices to make over lovers they have: Sandy's choice leads to his dismissal, Eddie's... well, Eddie's isn't resolved by the book's final page. Eddie is keen to find out about his father's early life in Penang. Sandy met his wife, who gave birth to two boys including Eddie, many years later and is now dead, and this woman has only the haziest notions of the story that she can pass on to Eddie.The story alternates between Penang and the Orkneys, and it's the Orkneys which come alive in the portrayal. Penang is much hazier. The men in the book are more vividly drawn than the women, but the tale is involving from the start. I was always eager to carry on reading until the final pages, when coincidence piled on coincidence. A disappointing end to a finely written book.

  • Deane
    2019-01-27 11:06

    This is the first book I have read of Andrew Greig's but I will certainly be on the lookout for others. I found the book a bit slow starting because it took time to realize that the chapters alternated between being in the 1930's in Penang about the father, Dr Sandy MacKay and in the present time on Orkney Island about the son, Edward MacKay. But once I got into the rhythm of the story, it was hard to put it down. I read the last 30 pages or so again because there was so much to absorb...the manipulation of Edward's search about his father's life in Penang was exquisite. And did Adele also manipulate Dr. Sandy herself in order to have a child? Love Google because of further information on Penang in far east Malaysia and Orkney Island in far north of Scotland. Many people involved with very distinct personalities; very interesting and intriguing with some mysterious vagueness that we, are readers, have to surmise.

  • Judy
    2019-02-04 12:02

    A charming book by an author who reminds me in many ways of Lawrence Durrell. He uses words as an artist and a poet (which he is), creating a vivid, memorable sense of place. In this book the reader lives through both a present-day Orkney winter and the 1930's Penang, exploring the linked lives of a modern day Scottish engineer, fragile as he recovers from a near death experience after brain trauma, and his grandfather who went as a naive young doctor to work in a maternity hospital in what was then Malaya. The characters are a dynamic mixture with sound human failings and foibles. Love, betrayal, espionage and courage feature in the societies separated by time and distance and a curious link is formed.I found the plot perhaps rather over-convoluted, but the story and protagonists are most engaging.

  • Angela Lyon
    2019-01-29 12:47

    I really enjoyed it. I like Andrew Greig's books. "In Another Light" was quite a complicated novel. Edward Mackay unravels the story of his late father whom he loved but didn't really know.The story moves between his research into his fathers life in Penang in the 1930's and his own life on the island of Orkney in the present day. I found the portrayal of life and manners in a British colony of expats in the thirties interesting. The attitudes and the morals of the time are woven into a fascinating story as Edward lives his own life in the present day.But there was much more to the story than this. I can only recommend if you like an impressive novel written by a wonderful author read this and also another of Greigs novels "That Summer" an edge of the seat book set in Britain in 1940 and the Battle of Britain pilots.

  • Chris Wackett
    2019-01-31 10:07

    this was a really thoughtful read. two stories past and present and all about love and loss and why we are who we are . how we are both like our forebears and distinct from them .about being afraid to live and fearful of dying. this perhaps makes the book sound more melancholy and heavy weight than it was . it was a great read with lots of bright sparks of joy in it .the descriptions of both penang and Orkney were lovely and you could feel the heat of one and the cold of the other . after finishing it I wanted to sit quietly for a long time and just think ......

  • Mary
    2019-01-24 10:07

    I'm not a big fan of parallel narratives in alternate chapters however I did enjoy both these stories. The Orkney characters and stories reminded me of Electric Brae and the "Sandy MacKay" story made me want to visit Penang. I liked the realism of the characters but was a bit disappointed by the exaggerated coincidences towards the end. Nevertheless, a good tale of life and death and love and loss and kept me busy on the train to and from Kyle!

  • Georgina
    2019-02-16 14:49

    A 'male-gaze' book if ever there was one, with shallowly drawn, negatively depicted women characters. Elements of The Magus came to mind, but Fowles managed to say what he had to say more concisely, and without the preliminary guise of verisimilitude (particularly of place and milieu), that make Greig's heavily manipulated ending very hard to swallow.Too long, too male, not enough of a tale to tell so laboriously... I did get fed up with the relentless, rythmical time-hopping.

  • Lesley
    2019-02-02 16:14

    Mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the different settings but found the constant changes between first and third person narrative hard to get used to. The ending felt quite weak, really, a bit of a dud. Few of the female characters were likeable, I'm not sure the author understands women. Still, a decent enough holiday read.

  • Kirsty Keddie
    2019-01-30 08:55

    The parts of this set in Orkney were so well observed and written. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. I also enjoyed the parallel story of narrators father, Sandy. However for me the ridiculous and un-necessary mechanism used to draw the strands together at the end wasted what was otherwise a quite well written story

  • Simon newson
    2019-02-04 12:11

    And whats wrong with a male gaze? . The tale did take rather a long time getting nowhere in particular but I enjoyed it( the Penang episodes more then the Orkney) and the very short 'chapters' made it difficult to put down. I thought it all got a bit Victorian in the end particularly with the Miss Haversham like figure and the bringing together of disparate characters.

  • Alice Thiagaraj
    2019-01-29 17:12

    This book is amazing. It progresses at quite a gentle pace but the writing is superb - the sort of writing that makes you wonder how someone can use exactly the same words that you know but make their meaning so much more powerful and eloquent.

  • Karen
    2019-02-03 17:01

    Disappointed in this having enjoyed "Fair Helen" so much. Felt it was too long and that the switching between the present and the past happened too frequently. Was also totally unconvinced by the actions of the old lady - pointlessly convoluted.

  • Book Line and Stinker
    2019-01-20 11:11

    Chosen by Chris - Score 63 out of 100 - Word Description - Poetic, Disjointed, Overlong, Searching, Atmospheric, Vivid, Turgid, Nostalgic, Enchanting, Loyalties

  • Colin Elliot
    2019-02-01 17:10

    ..intruiging and captivating. Orcadian/Malay odyssey with time travel.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-24 09:56

    Completely engaging and wonderful.

  • Susan
    2019-01-29 11:02

    A surprise good read from Intellectual Property's $2 bin. I'm a sucker for time-split stories and far-off remote Scottish islands.And have yet to finish it. ..

  • Kate Nicholson
    2019-02-13 11:05

    Very good read, though has quite a few similarities to Electric Brae... he obviously has a thing about crazy women!