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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

From the highly-acclaimed author of Small Pleasures - longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021.

Without even noticing, Esther Fairchild has become locked into routine.

Living with her adored brother, Christian, she divides her time between illustrating children's books, nightly shifts as a waitress, weekly visits to her father and fortnightly meetings with her married lover.

Then one day she encounters a face in the crowd which jolts her out of her mundane existence and makes her question both her life and the past that has helped to shape it. Memories she had long chosen to forget begin to resurface. Memories of an eccentric childhood in a large and shabby house, where the children were left to fend for themselves within the loose boundaries of their parents' unorthodox values. A chaotic existence peopled by a rich collection of feckless 'guests'.

And into this shambolic world came Donovan - regularly deposited by his unreliable mother - and Penny, Christian's girlfriend and Esther's idol. Until tragedy struck and shattered their joint existence. But now, it seems, their lives are about to become intertwined once more....

©2004 Clare Chambers (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about In a Good Light

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Is someone chopping onions?!

Loved this story. Loved the sarcasm. Found myself laughing out loud at parts and crying at others. Throughout buoyed by the quirky and so loveable characters. Brilliantly read 11/10

5 people found this helpful

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The trees, not the forest

Like its narrator and central character Esther, a young woman who illustrates books for children with beautiful, minutely detailed drawings, this is a book at its best when its focus is tightly held on life’s small moments. Such moments are so often charming, winningly observed and full of life.

However, the book’s forest of a plot, which functions to shoehorn its trees of momentary felicity into line with contrived coincidences, seems both overlong and diminishing.

The warm, amused reading is just what is needed to tip the balance and, above reservations notwithstanding, makes listening to the audio version a pleasure.

4 people found this helpful

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One to stick with - it's worth it

Wasn't convinced halfway through. Like others I questioned the length/relevance of the childhood 'flashback'. And then THUD, it hits you like a ton of bricks. As ever from Clare Chambers, masterful portraits, a deep dive into others' lives and touching subtleties woven through.

1 person found this helpful

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  • jo
  • 12-05-22

Coming of age epic

I chose this book because I had read and thoroughly enjoyed “Small Pleasures” by the same author. I quite enjoyed this story but definitely felt it was too long winded in parts, for example the childhood section. The performance in some ways detracted from my enjoyment because the narrator had an annoying way of raising her tone at the end of a sentence, even if it wasn’t a question. She also had a habit of often narrating the dialogue in a staccato fashion which put me off. However she does have a lovely voice and when it was just narrative it was a good performance. I found some of the characters a bit watery and despite the length of the book they didn’t have the depth, I think this was partly due to the jump of 19 years as it left a huge gap in the story. It was tolerable and I was glad the ending had closure.

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Outdated offensive terms

Narrator over empathises everything, to the point of feeling patronised as a listener. Use of words “Spaz, tart, tramp & cripple” disappointing - especially as the character using all of these was portrayed as a ‘good guy’. Long musings around women being ‘emotional’ feel sexist. Long meandering chapters. All tied together at the end but was it worth listening to hours and hours to get to the point where something actually happened?

Nearly gave up after the first 4hrs and kind of wish I had…

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Lovely story

I really enjoyed this book, a lovely story that tied up all the loose ends at the end. I did not like the narrator however, if felt she over did the dramatisation a lot of the time. Do recommend the book tho

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  • VJ
  • 12-04-22

A Lovely Book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A glimpse of childhood and family life before the advent of the internet & social media; when not everyone even had a colour television.
As ever Imogen Church helped to bring the story & characters to life - one of the best narrators on Audible!

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Great listen

Loved everything about this story, the writing and the characters. Thoroughly enjoyable and will be listening to more from this author.

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so very good

at first i wasn't getting into ... narration seemed over the top BUT , having always liked Imogen Church as a narrator, i persevered and wow! it all came together, this was funny, nostalgic, sensitive and yes basically a love story but the characters, well the narration as i said previously, fell into place with the humour and the terrific voices given to the friends we meet, was just so right. So don't give up like i nearly did, this is one of my favourites to date and I've listened to a lot and seldom review. really sad i finished 😢

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Poor narration

Previously enjoyed books by this author but unfortunately unable to finish this audio. Narration was awful!