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Dystopian Fiction Audiobook Review: The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

audiocopy courtesy of Audible Studios

Synopsis from Goodreads
Set in a Scottish caravan park during a freak winter – it is snowing in Jerusalem, the Thames is overflowing, and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to arrive off the coast of Scotland – THE SUNLIGHT PILGRIMS tells the story of a small Scottish community living through what people have begun to think is the end of times. Bodies are found frozen in the street with their eyes open, euthanasia has become an acceptable response to economic collapse, schooling and health care are run primarily on a voluntary basis. But daily life carries on: Dylan, a refugee from panic-stricken London who is grieving for his mother and his grandmother, arrives in the caravan park in the middle of the night – to begin his life anew.

Audible US/UK | Amazon US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | Book Depository


* * *
 I am actually torn about this book.

On one hand, the writing is beautiful, no question about it. It's introspective, meditative, poetic. The characters are fascinating and lovingly drawn. The atmosphere reminded me of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

On the other hand, I did not like how the narration jumped through the timeline without rhyme or reason, and I especially did not like the ending.

It was like: all the build-up, and the whole thing stopped mid sentence. If I was Sheldon Cooper it would have driven me nuts.

Dylan, Constance and Stella are extremely charismatic. I especially adored Stella, a transgender teen in a small community whose dreams and plans are derailed by the very inconvenient apocalypse.

Constance who glued Dylan and Stella together, was an enigmatic woman but I couldn't understand what drove her tumultuous relationships. What such an interesting woman did with two very ordinary men ( who are actually hardly playing any roles in this book)?

Dylan with his internal strength and calm facade grounded Constance and her daughter, and I loved how drawn he was to them. It felt like fate to me.

Their mutual neighbor was a sweetheart as well, and I loved how lively and believable all his grumpy dialogues were. I could absolutely imagine this happening in real life.

Steven Cree, the narrator, did a decent job, and for me the book flowed really well.

Overall, despite my disappointment with the ending, it's a recommended read. Purely for its gorgeous poetic language. However, I would hesitate to pick up this author again because I hate feeling cheated by my own expectations. *grins* It's up to you to risk it or not.

                                                                * * *
Я разрываюсь в своих мнениях об этой книге, дамы и господа.

С одной стороны, стиль мисс Фаган красив, поэтичен, даже созерцателен. Персонажи очень интересны и выписаны тщательно и с любовью. Атмосферой "Пилигримы Солнца" напоминают "Эпоху Чудес" от Карен Томпсон Уокер.

С другой стороны, мне жутко не понравилось как повествование скакало по временной линии без какого-то мотива или сюжетной логики, и мне особенно не понравилась концовка.

Вот представьте, напряжение нарастает, сюжетные линии наконец-то пересекаются и читатель уже в предвкушении какой-то коды... а книга заканчивается буквально на полуслове! Если бы я была Шелдоном Купером, то от этого бы сошла с ума.

Дилан, Стелла и Констанс - очень харизматичны. И я особенно прониклась симпатией к Стелле - трансгендерному подростку в маленькой шотландской деревушке, которую эмоции переполняют как бурлящий чайник и которая в отчаянии от того, что несвоевременный апокалипсис погубил ее мечты и планы.

Констанс - любовный интерес Дилана и мать Стеллы, загадочная, притягательная , сильная женщина. В то же время, я не могла понять, что побуждало ее продолжать сумбурные отношения с двумя очень ординарными мужчинами, которым практически не отведено никаких ролей в повествовании.

Дилан с его внутренним спокойствием и душевной добротой заземлял Констанс и Стеллу, и читать о нем было легко и приятно. Чувствовалось, что тянуло его к матери Стеллы соершенно не случайно.

Даже их общий сосед оказался ворчливым обаяшкой, его ворчание я легко могла представить в реальной ситуации.

Стивен Кри был хорошим рассказчиком, с которым повествование текло очень плавно. И в общем-то, книгу рекомендую из-за прекрасного поэтичного стиля писателя. Я сама Фаган читать больше не собираюсь, так как не люблю когда мои ожидания оказываются обмануты, а вы выбирайте сами рисковать или нет.

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