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The Light of Day

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  1,910 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
On the anniversary of a life-shattering event, George Webb, a former policeman turned private detective, revisits the catastrophes of his past and reaffirms the extraordinary direction of his future. Two years before, an assignment to follow a strayed husband and his mistress appeared simple enough, but this routine job left George a transformed man.

Suspenseful, moving, an
Paperback, 323 pages
Published August 10th 2004 by Vintage Books (first published 2003)
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To set the scene, let's have some Sugar Loaf Samba

Description: On the anniversary of a life-shattering event, George Webb, a former policeman turned private detective, revisits the catastrophes of his past and reaffirms the extraordinary direction of his future. Two years before, an assignment to follow a strayed husband and his mistress appeared simple enough, but this routine job left George a transformed man.

Suspenseful, moving, and hailed by critics as a detective story unlike any other, The
Aug 14, 2008 C. rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one who values their sanity
Graham Swift's The Light of Day is a sort of psychological/crime/love story. George Webb, a disgraced policeman, now works as a private detective, investigating the extra-marital affairs of the spouses of his clients. However, he gets emotionally involved with the case of Sarah Nash, whose husband had an affair with the Croatian refugee they sheltered in their home.

I didn't like it. I couldn't stand the prose style. He often uses short, pseudo-emotional sentences that lack a verb phrase (though
Jude Thomas
Mar 03, 2013 Jude Thomas rated it it was ok
Whilst I liked the style of writing, I was waiting for some kind of twist at the end, which never came. I also couldn't believe in the relationship between George and Sarah. He never really explained what it was about her that made him so head over heels in love after a few brief meetings (other than he liked her knees!).
At first this novel reminded me of 'The Maltese Falcon' or 'The Big Sleep', the protagonist is a big tough ex-cop turned private detective. His specialty is getting incriminating photos of spousal infidelity, most of his clients are women.

George Webb narrates a day in his life and slowly reveals the details of his relationships with his ex-wife, daughter, assistant, his parents who have passed as well as the current love interest in his life.

He talks about pivotal moments in his life, secrets th
Nov 24, 2008 Sophie rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1001-books
This is what I thought all adult books were like when I was a child - dry stories about middle aged people having affairs. I really struggled to finish this book, the writing was very stilted and repetitive, and the story of an aging private detective in love with one of his previous clients didn't really grip me. Not a bad book, just not my type.
Feb 01, 2016 Michaela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: knihobeznik
Romantika a krimi zároveň, ak to chcete však škatuľkovať, najviac je to psychologický román. Policajt, ktorý musel odísť z práce s potupou kvôli údajnej korupcii, sa momentálne venuje svojej firme. Je súkromným detektívom a jeho zákazníčkami sú oklamané manželky, ktoré chcú dôkazy o ich manželoch-neverníkoch. Ak sa chcete na knihu pozerať takto, môžete. Ale ja odporúčam vychutnať si ju. Ak si knihu obľúbite, bude to kvôli jej atmosfére - zhutnené vety, niekedy poetické, inokedy nahé. A Swiftov š ...more
Jun 12, 2008 Tara rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, 1001-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit
Swift can lead you to the brink of sheer boredom and somehow pull you into the clutches of pure fascination. His narrators, seem so innocent, almost harmless, but through the force of their narrative effectively dominate you into wanting to follow down every last corridor of mental meandering and pluck tediously the glorious fabrics of lint from your naval, and you do all this knowing it's happening against your better judgment, almost against your will, yet you find yourself obsessing right alo ...more
Claire Fuller
Hmm, nicely written, but it was too long for the story. I think it would have worked best as a novela. Also it felt like Swift was trying to lead us along the path of a twist or a revelation as if was a crime genre novel but there wasn't one. I don't mind that there wasn't one, it's just the expectation that didn't work. I also had issues with the sensitive, thinking, feeling narrator, George, who was a policeman turned private detective. Of course there are sensitive, thinking, feeling private ...more
Jan 23, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
hmmmmm... not crazy about this book. the writing is beautiful, but for some reason i feel annoyed... mainly because i don't "get it"... what makes him fall in love with this woman? "her knees"? he talks about her knees, he says over and over (to the point that you want to throttle him) "how do we choose?". i found the whole situation rather unbelievable, however, if you enjoy beautiful prose, certainly he is a master of that! his descriptions of the "cold day" are so spot on that i suddenly feel ...more
Jul 26, 2015 Wanda added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Bettie☯
26 JUL 2015 - recommended by Bettie. Many Thanks!

29 JUL 2015 - the characters and events are true-to-life. A touching story which will stick with me.
Melissa Bingöl
Jun 08, 2017 Melissa Bingöl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really had that book with great expectations however when I finished the book I thought that this book might be the worst book I have ever read. Style of writing was awful. I don't even want to talk about connection between sentences. Unfortunately subject of the novel was disappointment.
Mar 12, 2017 Susan rated it it was amazing
Another beautifully written novel by Graham Swift - the simple brilliance of his prose is breathtaking to me. It's a rare book that needs to be read slowly (compared to my usual mystery thriller genre pace) to fully appreciate the slow unfolding of the tale. The lyrical yet down-to-earth narrative interspersed with an incredible collection of cliches was fascinating. And there was a murder.
While this wasn't awful I really found it somewhat hard going and a bit dull. The stream-of-consciousness style of narration was all over the place as private investigator George Webb mused about his case involving femme fatale Sarah, who really didn't seem all that much for him to get so worked up over, as well as his childhood, his leaving the police force in disgrace, his failed marriage and so on and so on. It felt very unfocused with no real mystery, or tension and a rather limp romance.

Nov 14, 2011 Seth rated it really liked it
I had remembered liking "Last Orders," but I hadn't exactly put Graham Swift on my list of authors to exhaustively read. Based on a friend's recommendation and the need to quickly decide on something before traveling, I grabbed this one.

The book I read just before this one had been somewhat depressing, and "Light of Day" seemed like it was headed that way also. But the story was told with an incredible tenderness, and that helped make the book more relatable. The main character went through a g
Linda Owen
Sep 20, 2013 Linda Owen rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a standard murder mystery, leave this volume on the shelf. There's a murder, all right, but the mystery is existential. You spend 324 pages, one fictional day, inside the head of disgraced detective George Webb as he contemplates the slippery nature of love, choices and identity, and obsesses over what might have been. You're drawn toward truths gradually revealed in George's thoughts. Trying not to spoil the ending, I'll just say George finds an anchor in the remarkable co ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Gizzard rated it it was ok
Shelves: x2011, x2011-lit-fic
Quick read, and mostly interesting. The first person point of view, all taking place in one day, didn't really work that well. The writing style was very choppy and all over the place in the beginning. Then towards the end, the whole story becomes more coherent and linear. And this is really a contradiction to what is happening in the book, but is easier for the author bringing the story to a close. (why don't editors point out that if you are going to pick a novelty story telling device, you go ...more
Yelena Malcolm
Dec 01, 2007 Yelena Malcolm rated it it was ok
This story of a private investigator and his unusual attachment to a client suffered from the disjointed style of the narrative. Additionally, or perhaps because of that style, the characters only ever appeared half-formed and not worthy of sympathy. The reader was left wanting something mor to hold onto.

Like all Swift novels, this was a quick read, but unlike some of his others, Last Orders comes to mind, there was little to engage the reader and one felt very removed from the story, the charac
Nov 15, 2011 Kingfan30 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Private eyes! Not my favourite sort of person, been followed by one myself and its not a nice feeling (long story!). Anyway this is a strange one, it flits back and fort constantly and is written in quite a cryptic way, it takes a while to work out what is going on. I thought this way of writing would fade out once the crime was revealed, but no, it carries on for the whole book, and requires a bit of concentration. An interesting read, and my first by this author.

I guess I would have found it interesting had I read it, let's say, sometime in my third year.
Now it's just a jigsaw of a story (not meant in the flattering way).

(Sighs again.)
Sep 20, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
Another great novel written by Graham Swift.

4* Waterland
3* England and Other Stories
3* The Light of Day
TR Last Orders
TR Ever After
May 27, 2017 Dramatika rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this one, but it just didn't happen. It is one of the books that didn't stand the test of time. There are so many issues that could be raised in this book, given the background kf the characters. Yet it feels as if the writer is trying too much to be in the trend and failing.
Carola Janssen
Jun 02, 2017 Carola Janssen rated it really liked it
Shelves: leesclub
De meningen liepen weer ver uiteen. Conclusie mag wel zijn dat romantici meer onder de indruk zijn dan nuchtere types. Het boek is - met steeds wisselende verhaallijnen - wel knap geconstrueerd. Sommigen misten echter 'plot', anderen vonden dat beslist geen bezwaar. Oordeel zelf!
Louise Cole
Jun 16, 2017 Louise Cole rated it really liked it
Unusual and addictive.
May 29, 2017 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be very candid I just found this a dull and tedious book, quite a simple story but totally overwritten. Really had little point to it and just drifted along without wanting to connect.
Nov 04, 2016 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
An extraordinary book - the writing is simple and clear, and the story profoundly moving and sad.
Mar 16, 2017 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dec 03, 2011 Chris rated it liked it
The Light of Day
By: Graham Swift

I have no qualms with authors finding inspiration for their novels in other revered titles. Graham Swift ran into controversy in 1996 when critics found numerous structural similarities between his Booker Prize winning novel Last Orders and one of my favourite books, As I Lay Dying by Faulkner. While I have not read Last Orders, since it isn't on the list, I have found that the two novels that are included on the list share similarities to other important work
Nov 04, 2013 Tony rated it it was amazing
THE LIGHT OF DAY. (2003). Graham Swift. *****.
This was a marvelous novel by Mr. Swift that clearly rated between four-stars and five-stars; so…what the hell. It managed to grab my attention from the first page onwards, in spite of being written in the first person. It’s the story of one day in the life of George Webb. Webb is an ex-policeman, struck from the force for a reason you eventually learn, who has now taken on the business of being a Private Detective. He has his own agency, with one em
Kai Coates
Graham Swift's The Light of Day encompasses a single day in the life of Private Detective George Webb. Webb's day is spent memorializing a day 2 years ago (visiting a cemetery, visiting a prison) and the book is presented from his viewpoint as he relives that day, thinks about his past, and is unable to move into the future. I would describe the writing style as steam-of-consciousness light. It's not Joyce or Woolf, and it's not particularly well-done, but it is effective (and without the confus ...more
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Graham Colin Swift FRSL (born May 4, 1949) is a British author. He was born in London, England and educated at Dulwich College, London, Queens' College, Cambridge, and later the University of York. He was a friend of Ted Hughes.

Some of his works have been made into films, including Last Orders, which starred Michael Caine and Bob Hoskins and Waterland which starred Jeremy Irons. Last Orders was a
More about Graham Swift...

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“Jei gyvenimas jums ką nors siūlo, ką darote? Atmetate? Užsimerkiate, nusisukate? Apsimetate, kad įėjote ne pro tas duris. Tai skirta ne man, kažkam kitam...” 1 likes
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