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The Light of Day

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  1,596 ratings  ·  118 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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Feb 18, 2009 C. rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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.
Jude Thomas
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Dec 01, 2011 Tom rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Jul 29, 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.
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.

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
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
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
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
Linda Owen
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
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.
Talk about a book that does not live up to its title. I almost feel like I must have missed something essential in this book given that it seemed like the dark of misery or some such. If you enjoy books about infidelity and the tedious, minute investigation of the details of emotional upheaval as a result than this book will probably work for you. But for me it drug on and on with this insistent stupidity of two of the characters who are obsessively in love with people that appear to have little ...more
The Light of Day introduces us to George Webb, a disgraced police detective who now makes his living as a P.I. The events of the book are set in motion when Sarah Nash walks into Webb's office to hire him to follow her husband and her husband's mistress to the airport, to confirm that the mistress leaves and that the husband does not. The job is so straightforward that Webb even considers passing it off to his assistant. In the end, though, he takes it on himself, with life-changing consequences ...more
There are books in which the entire crime/cataclysmic event is laid out at the beginning and the story gradual reconstructs how it happened. The Light of Day takes a more elliptical approach in which the narrator's stream of consciousness gradually reveals both what happened and how it did. It jumps around quite a bit chronologically, though eventually resolves itself to 4 or 5 narrative streams and we quickly learn which is currently being pursued.

The style is very plain, one might say Hemingwa

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.)
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
A little frustrating to read - maybe it should have been a short story - as the narrator, George an ex-cop and Private Detective tells of his infatuation with his client, Sarah and the events leading up to her murdering her husband. Has some scenes like in Last Orders where the story deviates into Georges's childhood and the event where he is disgraced in the police force, and a fascination with life and death.

What George sees in Sarah and what Sarah thinks of George is never explained. He seems
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
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
I found this book quite similar in its themes as those of Graham Greene's The End Of The Affair (except for the Catholicism). It explores issues of fidelity and love, as well as death. There was enough powerful writing to make me give this book 5 stars, although a few part were a little frustrating in that the power of the story ebbed a little here and there.

But overall it touched on a topic I am finding fascinating at the moment, that of marriage and monogamy and faithfulness. Desire does not d
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
i liked Mr Swift's writing style - i found it easy to understand, although
> the jumps in time confused me until i figured out what he was doing
> (although i didnt realise til the end that the entire book happens over
> one day).
> i am not entirely convinced about love-at-first-sight but George's patient
> chasing/persuasion of Sarah felt sweet and touching (if possibly a little
> lost-puppy-ish on his side), as did George's relationship with Helen (his
> daughter).
I have read this book for academic purposes. I've found it very interesting although thrillers and detective stories are not the books I would choose to have a nice read.

This story is very passionate. It's about a gynecologist who's having an affair with a refugee. His wife suspects that he's having an affair and calls for the help of a private investigator.

Mr. Webb the private investigator takes the job and follows the husband of Mrs. Nash with great detail and enthusiasm.
But when his investi
After reading Graham Swift's "Tomorrow," I wanted to read something else by him. I was glad I did. Swift is a fine novelist, introspective and with an interesting story to tell. This one is narrated by an ex-cop, turned private eye, George Webb, and reads something like a well written whodunnit, with a murder included. The story takes place in one day, and the central focus is George's obsessive relationship with a woman client. Swift goes psychologically deep, and understands emotions that reve ...more
Annie M
I loved Graham Swift's "Last Orders". I thought it was so well written and insightful. The Light of Day doesn't even come close to that. I couldn't get used to the choppy incomplete sentences. Was it supposed to make us think of other hard-boiled fictional detectives? Well, it didn't.

It is billed as a love story. It is if love is co-dependent and self-serving. It was difficult to finish, but I kept at it hoping for some kind of revelation as to what drew George and Sarah to "love" each other. B
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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...
Last Orders Waterland Wish You Were Here Tomorrow Ever After

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