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Le stanze illuminate

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  227 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Joan è la madre, Eloise è la figlia. La prima, un'adorabile signora che ha superato l'ottantina, non può più vivere da sola. La seconda ha un lavoro troppo importante per non essere sola: è una consulente d'investimento di grande successo e lavora per un'azienda della City. Insieme cercano una casa per anziani e la trovano: 17 Huntley Gardens, a sud del Tamigi, un edificio ...more
Paperback, I coralli, 495 pages
Published 2008 by Einaudi
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(showing 1-30 of 506)
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Harvey Tordoff
After reading the first few chapters of this book I was totally unconvinced by the two main characters, ancient mother and menopausal daughter. It's a brave man who thinks that he can get inside the head of such individuals. I read the author profile again and realised how young he is. Well, that explains it. Not arrogance, just unfettered youthfulness!

I also read the dedication and acknowledgements at this point, and when I discovered that the book is a tribute to Mason's great-grandmother, who
Madeleine Decker
J'ai aimé le récit que peu connaissent de la guerre des Boers en Afrique du Sud et le sort inhumain que leur a réservé l'Angleterre.

Le reste, je suis mitigée, ne serait-ce que par la vraiment, mais vraiment mauvaise traduction. Il y même des bouts que je n'ai pas compris! Je ne sais pas comment la traductrice travaille, mais des bouts ressemblent à des mauvauses traductions Google.

Le débit est bon, certaines expression très bonnes et imagées comme, en parlant d'une personne âgée: elle avait le
Jul 12, 2014 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great book this was- very funny and touching and the references to the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa opened my eyes even more to the suffering in that country. I also loved his book "History of a Pleasure Seeker" and look forward to reading his other books!
Jul 12, 2015 Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly good. Eloise and her mum Joan are searching for the best retirement home and find a very expensive one that seems to be perfect in every way. Soon afterwards they travel to South Africa to visit Joan's grandmother's living Place during the Boer war in the early 1800's. While there Joan discoveres her grandmother's diary in a museum and steals it. Back at home Joan settles in at the retirement home and begins to relive her grandmother's life, which the house's matron takes as dementi ...more
I did not like this book as much as the starred review in Publishers Weekly indicated I might--however, having recently finished Drood, reading another book with a irrational narrator was too much.

Parts of the book work well. Eloise and Joan's visit to South Africa is definitely the highlight of the novel. The bits and pieces of diaries and scraps of information that help Joan reconnect with her South African childhood are interesting enough to help balance how stereotyped the South Africans se
Wu Ming
Dec 29, 2010 Wu Ming rated it it was amazing
WM4: [...] Con un piccolo esercizio retorico, si potrebbe dire che al fondo è una detective story. L'investigatrice protagonista potrebbe ricordare Miss Marple, solo più attempata, e però, come Sherlock Holmes, si avvale di aiutanti sul campo. Al posto di Watson troviamo Cordelia, un deambulatore geriatrico talmente indispensabile da essere meritevole di un nome proprio; mentre nei panni di Wiggins c'è Paul Dhanzy, un ragazzino di quindici anni dai trascorsi famigliari burrascosi, che preferisce ...more
Apr 10, 2012 Claudia rated it really liked it
Eloise è una consulente d'investimento non più giovane, single senza figli, che si trova a dover gestire un'anziana madre probabilmente affetta da un principio di demenza senile. Non è l'unica figlia di Joan, ma il fratello George è emigrato in Australia incurante degli affetti lasciati in Inghilterra. Eloise è orgogliosa della posizione lavorativa raggiunta, soddisfacente ma impegnativa, e gelosa dei suoi spazi personali, nei quali l'anziana madre non può rientrare. Decide così d'intraprendere ...more
Mar 28, 2012 Roberta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.

Philip Larkin

Richard Mason è un autore che mi piace davvero molto, ed è così fin dal primo romanzo che ho letto, Noi. Anime alla deriva mi è piaciuto un pochino di meno, ma comunque molto, e Alla ricerca del piacere mi è piaciuto allo stesso modo, anche se la scelta di non rivelare che si tratta di una prima parte, to be continued, mi ha indotto ad assegnare una stellina di meno. Le stanze illuminate è bellissi
Annika Min
Initial thoughts:
Overall a really nice read, but the author could have made more of it.

1) The author should have focused more on either Joan or Eloise. Even though you knew their thoughts, feelings and inner-self I had the feeling something important was missing.
2) It lacks a connection thread between the subplots.
3) The transition from an investigation based on facts to hallucinations was really interesting, the mental illness itself was most of the time finely-wrought.
4) Mason jumped too fas
Lois (three-legged-cat)
A few years ago I read a novel called The Drowning People. I fell in love with it (despite one slightly melodramatic moment in the plot) and went in search of more novels by the same author. There weren't any - I was amazed to discover that this was Richard Mason's debut and that he was only 20 years old. (At which point I immediately forgave him for the moment of unnecessary melodrama.)

An article in a weekend supplement alerted me to the fact that he had a new book out - and that another one (U
May 18, 2009 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do I describe this book. It sprawled. Loosely, it was about an aging mother and daughter -- mother is 80, daughter is close to 50. The daughter, a high-powered hedge-fund analyst, is wracked with guilt about putting her mother in a retirement home. The book is about their relationship, but also about the events in each of their separate lives around the time that the mother enters the home. Again, I agree with the Amazon reviews that criticize the book for being all over the map and for the ...more
Kate Gould
The Lighted Rooms takes on a vast array of human experience – from Boer War concentration camps and townships of modern-day Bloemfontein to commodities trading crises and antiseptic nursing homes in 21st century London.

Before consigning her mother, Joan, to a nursing home in Wandsworth, hedge fund trader, Eloise, takes her to visit her childhood home, now a shopping mall, in Bloemfontein. Called back to London when an investment goes awry, Eloise leaves Joan to investigate her family’s experien
May 21, 2009 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Klajbor
I really wanted to love this book the way I loved Richard Mason's first novel "Drowning People". That is one of my favorite books so I had high expectations for "Natural Elements". This book was good, but sometimes confusing. Mason didn't do a good job of connecting the different themes and subplots. The ending was somewhat ambiguous. I wanted to shout, "Wait, what? It can't end now, whatever happened to........." I don't want to spoil anything.

I would have given Natural Elements a higher ratin
Nele Gabriels
Ploughing through the in my experience one-dimensional plot with stereotypical characters, I was gripped by the suddenly vivid passages on the Boer war in South Africa. I wish the language and plot of the whole book had been more like these. The Lighted Rooms also offers a sense of the impact that increasing dementation may have on the social and emotional well-being of the elderly person him/herself rather than from the viewpoint of a relative or carer.
Dec 07, 2014 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 18, 2014 Ruth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I really engaged with the story and enjoyed the depths of each character. I read it at double my usual speed because I was enjoying it so much, not in a heart racing 'can't put it down' sort of way but more in a gentle 'it drew me in' way. I particularly liked its portrayal of the ageing mind through the character of Joan.
The pieces of this story never fit together properly for me. It was as though a vase had dropped and someone scooped up the pieces into a bag and labelled them a novel. Individual parts were well written but it was so lacking in cohesion as to character as well as time and place that I had to force myself to finish the book.
Jan 24, 2012 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was one of my pickups at the library, the cover drew my interest initially and the blurb implied it was going to be the sort of thing I liked. I didn't like it however; I loved it. Joan is the star of the book, through her the reader discovers the horrors her mother and grandmother faced in a concentration camp during the Boer War. It can be heavy reading in parts but so are the topics it deals with and it would be wrong to make something on this topic light reading.

This is my first b
Mar 12, 2010 Anita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty good book. My rating is probably closer to a 3.5 but I like to round up :). I thought the author did a good job with developing charatcters, the plot is somewhat complex, as it involves recent past, the Boer War in the past, the present: and the three time frames often coincide. I also think the author did a great job of handling the fine line between magical realism and dementia--at times, I wasn't convinced.
I, too, have a complex mother-daughter relationship so I had moments
Aug 26, 2008 Pamela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has so many different qualities. On one hand, it's this thrilling tale about a commodities broker and her risky bet on an ex-lover's promises to deliver some kinda transition metal. On the other hand, it's a heart-breaking and sometimes bewildering tale about a mother's efforts to reconcile her past while suffering from Alzheimer's in a terrible retirement home. That probably makes no sense, but I couldn't put this book down. Richard Mason's supposed to be a hot-shot young author, and ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was very different from the other two Mason books I have read.
An elderly woman and her daughter visit South Africa where the woman's grandparents made their home. The Boar War - with it's concentration camps for the Dutch settlers, present day London, the smarmyness of even posh nursing homes, multigenerational friendships, the ups and downs of finance, and the tricks our minds can play are the major themes. Minor themes are medical experimentation, child/spousal abuse, and parent/child relationships. Way too many themes for one book, but -still- the story ...more
Pinkin Lee
Jun 06, 2014 Pinkin Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so exited to read it.
Jun 29, 2013 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is set mostly in London in the present time, but a lot of memories & research come into it, too. It is built mainly around Joan, the mother, being placed in assisted living & Eloise, the daughter, experiencing a multi-faceted life crisis at the same time. This author, especially at his age, has written an amazing book & I am now interested in others from him. The characters, situations, places, & events are all well-done & have added to my knowledge & awareness. ...more
Nov 24, 2012 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading this book. Some of the reviews criticize it for being all over the place--but to me, that was part of its beauty. I learned about the Anglo-Boer War (which I knew absolutely nothing about), metallurgy, hedge funds, South Africa, and more. There were several plot lines, involving parent-child relationships, lovers, aging parents, and each one was carefully and credibly developed. I loved the characters and wound up caring for, and about, them. Even though there were flaws ... a 5 ...more
Aug 10, 2014 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book took me awhile to get through, mostly because of the style of writing. Really interesting plot and it was cool to get into the mindset of Joan with her hallucinations and seeing the "pedals".
Johanna Juntunen
Tosi hyvä kirja!! Paljon ajattelemisen aihetta.
Amanda Burrows
Feb 15, 2015 Amanda Burrows rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very moving account of the blurring of past and present caused by dementia. Excellently written and poignant with vivid, if somewhat dislikeable characters.
Feb 12, 2012 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy the way this author writes. This book was VERY different from his first 2 books. Really about a lady with a high powered job and her aging mother who she puts in a home. Kind of sad, but also some very interesting details of the SA ango-boer war and a British concentration camp in Bloemfontein. A bit disturbing and a bit confusing - but very good! Well worth reading. If you want lighter reading try his other 2 books "The Drowning People" and "Us".
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