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In Another Light

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  136 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Andrew Greig is a storyteller and a poet, and in this new novel both strands of his talent combine to create an enchanting tale set in two very different worlds. In the early nineteen thirties, an ambitious young Scotsman sets out on the long sea voyage to Penang, eager to take up his post running a maternity hospital in the colony, and eager for the new opportunities that ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2004 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
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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
Angela Lyon
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 fascinat
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 ...more
Chris Wackett
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 finish
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 ...more
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, an
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.
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
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.
Colin Elliot
..intruiging and captivating. Orcadian/Malay odyssey with time travel.
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.
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!
Simon newson
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
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.
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
Very good read, though has quite a few similarities to Electric Brae... he obviously has a thing about crazy women!
Completely engaging and wonderful.
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