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Mr Golightly's Holiday

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  795 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Many years ago, Mr. Golightly wrote a work of dramatic fiction that grew to be an astonishing international bestseller. But his reputation is on the decline and he finds himself badly out of touch with the modern world. He decides to take a holiday and comes to the historic village of Great Calne, hoping to use the opportunity to bring his great work up to date. But he soo ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Picador (first published January 1st 2003)
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Richard Derus
Oct 28, 2011 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

I fell in love with Salley Vickers when I read "Miss Garnet's Angel" ten or so years ago. It's set in Venice, a city I simply adore. It's a beautifully imagined moment in a solitary person's life, one where limitless possibilities open up inside her.

Then came "Instances of the Number 3", a very very odd book that captivated me despite my discomfort with the subject of a widow's growing fascination with her husband's transsexual mistress. These are books of courage and beauty.
Jul 02, 2008 LindyLouMac rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I just cannot get into this!! It is very unusual for me to give up but five chapters is enough to tell me that I just cannot read anymore. If I had read the Amazon reviews properly before starting, maybe I would never have done so? Reading what Amazon has to say, along with my own efforts to try, I have learnt that this is not really a novel but a Fable. Amazon says and I quote that 'One needs a high tolerance of Anglican whimsy to enjoy this'
I just do no
Aug 21, 2007 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I read this on my own holiday - but this doesn't make it in any way a trashy holiday read. Sally Vickers writes quite beautifully, with engaging characters, subtleties of plot and a central conceit that doesn't emerge till you're nearly through (my English Lit undergrad daughter didn't "get" it till it was absolutely spelled out) that I found deeply satisfying. Big questions presented so accessibly you barely notice you're being asked to consider them.
I was enchanted - don't want to return it to
Carinya Kappler
Sep 23, 2014 Carinya Kappler rated it it was amazing
Book Review by Carinya
Mr Golightly's Holiday by Salley Vickers
What a surprise this book is. I read it, enjoying every page of descriptive, sometimes poetic prose tinged with typically English irony. Then I read certain chapters again to gauge the extent to which I was willing to unpeal the layers of parable so cleverly interwoven in the village gossip and local adventure.
I loved this author's way with words, her summation of the more serious subjects confronting ordinary people and her adept en
Jun 26, 2012 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
What I liked about this book was the Englishness of it -- the characters and scenes that inhabit so many small towns. I've seen places like this when I lived in England, but that was (mumble-mumble) years ago, in another century, another world. You catch glimpses in Agatha Christie stories or even MC Beaton's books. That was the bit of the book which enchanted me. The actual story-line itself, and many of the characters, didn't grab me quite as much.

I do have to admit it took me a while to pick
Apr 03, 2010 Miette rated it really liked it
A gentle book which I loved from the beginning. I don't generally reread books but this is written so beautifully and of course having knowledge of the ending will put everything in a different light. I didn't really think the long conversation at the end was necessary but maybe on a second reading I'll have different insights and opinions.
Alina Trigger
Dec 02, 2009 Alina Trigger rated it it was ok
A bit too twee for my liking. I got the impression the author could not decide on whether this was to be a philosophical/ religous or just a bit of whimsy.
Dec 07, 2010 Pat rated it liked it
It took me while to realise that Mr Golightly was in fact God taking a holiday and as I'm not a religious person, some of it was probably over my head.
Simon Mcleish
Feb 19, 2013 Simon Mcleish rated it liked it
Originally published on my blog here in November 2004.

There have been many novels written about the way in which the settled life of a British village can be transformed by the introduction of new ideas by cosmopolitan visitors. It might be thought that the advent of modern communications and media, particularly the TV soap opera, would have made this an obsolete concept, one that would be restricted to literature with a historical setting, but Mr Golightly's Holiday demonstrates that a successf
There are two pages of review quotes at the beginning of my paperback copy of this book, and several on the back cover, and I can’t help feeling that each of the contributors has found something within that I missed. While readable, Mr. Golightly’s Holiday was nowhere near as strong, thoughtful, or beautifully written as Miss Garnet’s Angel, which had a deft, light touch to the sadness and vivid, un-stereotyped characters.

The premise of this one feels like a Reader’s Digest magazine story; a bit
Sep 05, 2013 Cassandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nach so vielen Jahren will Gott in Gestalt von Mr. Golightly seine Bibel überarbeiten und moderner gestalten. Ein verschlafenes Dorf in England scheint genau das richtige Plätzchen für diese Aufgabe zu sein…

Ein atmosphärischer Roman mit vielen schönen Momenten. Gott reist stilsicher in einem alten Morris an, im Gepäck sein etwas angestaubter Bestseller, eine Kiste Wein und ein Laptop. In diesem beschaulichen Dorf sollte es doch einfach sein, die Seele baumeln zu lassen und sich in aller Ruhe der
Mary  Mendoza
May 22, 2013 Mary Mendoza rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels, england
Another book that had me bamboozled until the last few pages, Mr. Golightly’s Holiday by Salley Vickers, is a novel about a nondescript middle-aged writer who takes a “holiday” in a small English village, ostensibly to work on a re-write of a blockbuster he wrote years before. The clues to his real identity are evident early on but I, of course, was clueless. Shan’t give it away suffice to say I didn’t find Mr. Golightly “profound” or “meaningful” (no comparison to superior works by Dani Shapiro ...more
Aug 16, 2012 Gillian rated it really liked it
The twist in the tale is the true identity of Mr Golightly and his purpose for visiting Great Calne in Devon. The clues are really quite obvious, and more so the second time I read it which I was compelled to do after so enjoying it as a new release. It is such a warm book to read with a very English 'chocolate box' feel to it,complete with the local 'stag+badger pub' serving no doubt Greene King IPA. The characters are portrayed as slightly stereotypical eccentric English folk in a picturesque ...more
May 30, 2008 Cecily rated it liked it
Fable with an old-fashioned feel (like Mr Golightly), though set in the present. Effective evocation of village life and characters, though inevitably there is a higher than average proportion of "interesting" characters.

Some of the metaphors are trying too hard; it was described by one reviewer as like reading pot-pourri. Rather crass in places, eg the main character's name, the way it refers to The Catastrophe at regular intervals (as if to built up suspense, lest you hadn't noticed there wer
May 22, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
It's a well-known fact in my house that you can tell how I feel about a book by the length of time it takes me to read... this book took 11 days, 6 days more than it took me to read all 1037 pages of Gone With the Wind.

This book is really difficult to get into, really slow moving and not very interesting.

I think the only redeeming factor is the final chapter - when you get to that bit and you realise the point of the book, there is an added layer of interest when you think about all the clues t
Dec 29, 2015 Fiona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stumbled across this book in a second hand store. I read Miss Garnet's Angel many years ago, which I loved.
Unfortunately I read a few reviews and one of them gave away the secret to the book which spoiled this read. I would have liked to try and unravel what was going on for myself.
It's a very English style of book, quaint villages, misty moors.
I like the style of writing, Salley Vickers has a great vocabulary and turn of phrase.
It was a bit hard to keep track of who all the characters were at
Kathleen Dixon
Jun 07, 2014 Kathleen Dixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, audio-books
What a nice book!

Mr Golightly, who once wrote a book that caused an amazing industry to arise based on it, decides to take time out to go on holiday for a while and rewrite the book in a more modern manner. So he hires a cottage (one that very few tenants have lasted in for long, due to its rather decrepit state and ghastly colour schemes) and begins to be distracted by the people.

This book has wonderful descriptions - of the places, the animal life, and the people. There's an unfolding of plot
Nikki Magennis
Dec 03, 2010 Nikki Magennis rated it liked it
A very English kind of book. Cute conceit and some lovely, lyrical descriptive passages. The soap-operatic story didn't quite gel for me, though. I was a bit confused and reading the afterword see that the author notes there are references to various texts throughout - I think maybe the references (which went over my head, me being fairly canon-illiterate) screwed up the story. I wished that a couple of the characters had been more developed/had bigger roles and that some had been more subtly dr ...more
Jenny Macdonald
Aug 12, 2013 Jenny Macdonald rated it really liked it
This is the third of Sally Vickers books I have read and, as the other two she writes beautifully about relationships and how people deal with difficult situations. This book is set in a small village in Dartmoor and her characters are brilliantly described. Mr Golightly is on holiday in a rented cottage. He has written a best seller at one time and thinks he would like update it. However, the events in the village and his sad past (the death of his son) conspire to prevent it. As always with Ms ...more
Jun 25, 2014 Belinda rated it it was ok
At the end of 6 chapters esteemed author Sally Vickers is still setting the scene. While the setting and subject matter are only mildly interesting so far, the author seems to be compensating a bit with an overactive vocabulary. In most cases I don't mind a little ostentatious display, however here I am just finding myself waiting for the story to back up such 'verbage'. Bring it on.....I'll keep reading....
Well, here I am just shy of the center of the book, and while the story has finally pi
Ryan James
I loved Vicker's Miss Garnet's Angel and Instances of the Number 3, so I this book has been on my wish list for ages. It saddens me to say, it was a major disappointment. Can I say it was too British for my taste? I have read many British based novels, but this one seemed to drag on with a country theme that I really could not relate to, fantasize about wanting to relate to, or even fantasizing about wanting to visit.

I will continue to be a Vickers fan if only for the two books I did enjoy.
When I read the reviews, and the authors of those reviews, on tne inside pages of this book, I thought I was in for an unmissable treat. But I must have missed the point somewhere along the line. I found the characterisation of an English village and its life, and the characters themselves interesting but something of a caricature. The religious theme, which emerged as the novel progressed, remained a puzzling one for me, despite having been raised solidly CofE (lapsed now). I didn't exactly plo ...more
Nov 06, 2010 Grey853 rated it it was ok
Shelves: british, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 11, 2011 Jennifer rated it liked it
This is quite an interesting book--I can't remember who recommended it to me. Mr. Golightly is on holiday in a small town in Dartmoor filled with eccentric English characters (think Doc Martin). He has hopes of rewriting his book, which was once a best seller and is now out of date. It takes awhile to catch on to what this book is. I can't say more without giving the story away, but it's entertaining and a good read.
Aug 08, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was a surprising read and I have to say it leaves me with a feeling that I will read it again and have a greater understanding of the complexity. It unfolds and carries a thoughtful story. It seemed to be a story about one thing and in fact turned out to be a story with a much deeper meaning than one may have first expected. There are layers and the writer both delighted and challenged me to read with a deeper sense of my own being. You'll have to read it to see what I mean.
Maurynne  Maxwell
Sep 05, 2011 Maurynne Maxwell rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit, spirit
A very interesting meditation on tragedy, comedy, and religion. It was pretty evident how the "plot" was going to work out, and having posed the same existential questions for myself for many years, i can't say there was any new insight I received, but I enjoyed it very much, especially the descriptions of nature and the heart's musings. If anyone has been struggling with the story of Job, or why bad things happen to good people, there is much food for thought here.
Feb 07, 2012 Pam rated it liked it
An old writer rents a cottage in rural England to rewrite his famous book. But he’s distracted by the goings-on among the villagers, who were all interesting characters. Unfortunately I already knew the twist, but not enough of the stories that were being referenced. I was intrigued by the vocabulary of the author -- there was a good sprinkling of uncommon words.
Apr 11, 2008 Clare rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: sentimentalists
Hmmmm. Not really my cup of tea although I am sure it will appeal to many. I don't like fantasy and this book has a definite supernatural ending - it gets 5/5 for originality but personally I think it's sentimental and a bit twee! I like to think fiction COULD actually happen even if it doesn't. This never would.....
Aug 11, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it
at first I didn't like the way the book was written, in a kind of twee and flowerey language, but as I kept at it I really liked it, but like some other reviewers, I didn't twig the religious parables for ages, and not till nearer the end did I realise who Mr Golightly was supposed to be, but I did overall enjoy the refreshing type of story
Mar 08, 2010 Conrad rated it it was amazing
I felt as though I was watching one of those artists who paint a picture, a little here - a little there, all over the canvas, and slowly the picture takes on form and substance until, finally, we see the artist's vision emerge and we say, "Ah, ha!" and all that's left are the finishing touches. Skillfully crafted - a very satisfying read.
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Salley Vickers was born in Liverpool, the home of her mother, and grew up as the child of parents in the British Communist Party. She won a state scholarship to St Paul’s Girl’s School and went on to read English at Newnham College Cambridge.

She has worked, variously, as a cleaner, a dancer, an artist’s model, a teacher of children with special needs, a university teacher of literature, and a psy
More about Salley Vickers...

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