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The Sunlight Pilgrims

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,641 Ratings  ·  419 Reviews
It's November of 2020, and the world is freezing over, each day colder than the last. There's snow in Israel; the Thames is overflowing; and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to drift just off the coast of Scotland. As ice water melts into the Atlantic, frenzied London residents evacuate by the thousands for warmer temperatures down south--but not ...more
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published July 19th 2016 by Hogarth (first published March 24th 2016)
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karen
this is a gem of an apocalypse story. i'd read this author's book The Panopticon a few years back, and loved it, but this one is so very different in style and tone, it shows just how much authorial range ms fagan has. The Panopticon was gritty and harsh, but not without some really lovely bits. this one is slower, more deliberate and insightful, and the lovely languid writing is back and it is tremendously effective in this setting, where the world is slooooowwwwly ending as a new ice age rolls ...more
Amalia Gavea
‘’There are three suns in the sky and it is the last day of autumn- perhaps for ever.’’

Since Dystopian Fiction is one of my favourite genres, The Sunlight Pilgrims had been on my list for quite some time. When one has read a significant number of Dystopian novels, the risk to feel that what you read is one of the same is always present. Thankfully this is not the case with Jenni Fagan’s brilliant novel. It is beautifully written, full of emotions and with brilliantly developed themes that cent
...more
Annet
Truly one of the highlights of this year, this book....

Read a great review in the New York Times book review here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/17/boo...

“The Sunlight Pilgrims” is a stylistically quieter novel than Fagan’s bravura debut, “The Panopticon” — a fiery and voice-driven effort that landed her on Granta’s 2013 list of the best British novelists under 40 years old — but it is no less critical in its portrayal of marginalized people under the pressure of society’s norms....Fagan is a
...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The year is 2020, the world is getting colder, the Thames has frozen solid, snow in places where it doesn't usually snow and a huge glacier is heading towards Scotland. In a Scotland caravan park, Constance, her daughter Stella, though Stella used to be a he, and Dylan, a young man from London whose mother lived in the park and had recently died, are gearing up for the coldest winter ever. The descriptions of the weather, the snow, the cold and ice are phenomenal, one can feel this weather insid ...more
Angela M
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it

It's eerie for sure and disconcerting to think that in this novel, taking place in 2020 only four years from now , that a new Ice Age is coming not just to this place in Scotland called Clachan Fells but all over the world. It's a tribute to the author that her descriptions make you feel the unbelievably cold temperatures and see the three suns in the sky , the phantom suns . The prologue is beautifully written setting the stage for the story, mainly of three unforgettable characters.

Within the
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This book is cold.....



I enjoyed the characters in the book. I was expecting more to happen in the book. I thought they were going to be fighting the cold the whole time, but it's really about people and friendship and well yes, the cold.

They are talking throughout the book about looking at the three suns. I thought at first this was some crazy thing that happened with the Ice Age coming, we suddenly had three suns but no, this is what they all it in the book:

 :

EXCERPT

--Parhelia. It's a phenomen
...more
Jen
Not going to rate this - putting it into my abandoned pile. Good writing - but because I'm not inclined to read the blurbs anymore prior to reading, I didn't realize this was YA. I'm not a fan and really need to mentally prepare myself for one. This has gotten rave reviews from some of my fondest GR friends (who I trust immensely). So, don't be put off by me. Just can't do it for the YA factor.
Larry H
Aug 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

People often comment that there are not many original ideas out there. While that seems true sometimes, at other times you find a book that is pretty unique in certain ways, and isn't at all what you expected. That was definitely the case with Jenni Fagan's The Sunlight Pilgrims . While not everything meshed the way I had hoped, this was a unique and surprising book, and it definitely has stayed in my mind.

It's 2020 and the world is in the grips of the coldest temperatur
...more
Helene Jeppesen
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book was the perfect combination of scary and intriguing! We are in Scotland where everything is covered in frost and snow. Actually, all of the world is covered in what everyone fears is going to be the next Ice Age and the extinction of humanity. The scary part is that this story takes place only 4 years from now, in 2020!
While this story is quite claustrophobic and chills you to the bones, I love how it comes with a glimpse of hope. Dylan, Stella and Constance get to know each other
...more
Taryn
3.5 Stars. Three people living their day-to-day lives in a time of great upheaval. 5-star character/setting & beautiful writing, but I was at a 2-star level of engagement. It was slow moving and not much happened. That isn't always a deal-breaker for me, but I just didn't click with this book.

All the villagers look worried and that is the worst thing. Before it was just poverty, pestilence, terrorists, pedophiles, drugs, eating disorders, online grooming, meteors skimming a bit too close for
...more
Cheri
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is one of those books. Any reservations I had left even after reading glowing reviews disappeared and I found that I was always eager to return to Jennie Fagan’s story of nuclear winter set in Scotland. That the setting is only a mere four years away made it all the more compelling.

When temperatures begin to plunge, there is the inevitable social and economic crisis associated, but while Fagan incorporates those issues, the focus remains on the people. The setting, while bitterly cold even
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I think I would group this book in the same pool as Station Eleven - a literary novel playing with a setting of destruction to explore other themes. As people who know me know, this might hint at a lesser enjoyment of the book for me than I think other people will have. I've read many disaster novels and have some baseline expectations for the realism I require to find truth in the story.

In this book it is an ice age instead of a virus, with a smaller cast of characters and narrower themes of s
...more
Puck
This book is something else. You better sit down somewhere cosy while you read this, because the story is gripping, intriguing and above all it’s cold.

It’s November 2020 and a terrible cold is descending upon the globe, the worst winter in centuries. The Thames freezes over and hundreds of people die from the icy weather. In these harsh times we follow Dylan, Constance and Stella as they try to survive the low temperatures and the lack of sunlight, as well as their own personal problems.

I me
...more
Arielle Walker
“...the child of a wolf may not feel like she has fangs until she finds herself facing the moon, but they are still there the whole time regardless.”


There is absolutely no question: the writing here is stunning. Stella is also a fantastic, engaging character - I just wish the others had the same depth. There's a little manic-pixie-dream syndrome going on here, along with a good solid case of insta-love, and on reflection I found I had very little attachment to either Dylan or Constance.

To be
...more
Ray
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The ice age is coming,
the sun's zooming in,
meltdown expected,
the wheat is growing thin

Wind forward a few years to 2020. The ice caps are melting and the gulf stream has stopped. The UK is subject to a huge freeze as the Thames ices over and the country is carpeted in snow.

In the north of Scotland a community struggles to adapt and survive as the temperature plummets. In a trailer park on the edge of town a newcomer from London strikes up a relationship with his neighbours, a hippy lady and a
...more
Dannii Elle
"You can drink light right down into your chromosomes, then in the darkest minutes of winter, when there is a total absence of it, you will glow and glow and glow."

This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. I felt the story was slightly prolonged in the central section but the overall lyrical beauty of it led this to be a solid 4/5 star read. It also dealt with a multitude of important topics such as grief, gender identity, sexuality, the degradation of women, monogamy,
...more
Amanda
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Baby it's cold outside! The year is 2020 and it's -6 degrees in Scotland. Temperatures all over the world are dropping to record lows, it's snowing in places it shouldn't be snowing and the Thames has frozen over. Are you cold yet? Oh yeah and a major iceberg is headed towards Scotland. Things are not looking so great for Constance and her trans teenage daughter Stella who is struggling to get hormone blockers.

This is a very literary take on the genre along the lines of Station Eleven or Gold Fa
...more
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews

How do you rate a book like this? I don't even know where to start or what to say here.

Let's get something straight first, this is more of a character driven book showcasing people who are lost, who are struggling with grief and looking for acceptance, rather than a book about the end of the world.

It's bleak, slightly depressing, slow and not a great deal happens BUT it is written so well. It's clever, a bit dry (which a lot of people that aren't from England may not understand), full of quirky
...more
Jennifer
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just fell in love with all the characters and the place. This made me laugh, it made me sad, it made me happy. I am not sure what else to say. It is a story about an ice age? Well, yes, but it is more than that. Far more. Everyone was suffering from a degree of sadness, but as things got colder, they became happier. Funny how things like that happen. I found myself wanting to live in northern Scotland and watch an iceberg come into the bay. I am going to live with Dylan, Stella , Constance, Vi ...more
Wendy
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nov-16
The Sunlight Pilgrims, by Jenni Fagan, takes place in 2020 in a small Scottish town during the worst winter on record (the approaching ice age).
It is a touchingly believable story of a small group of people, living in a caravan, and how they continue to lead their lives while the enviromental catastrophe escalates.
I couldn't help liking the characters as they were flawed and genuine. While fighting off despair they hung onto each other with dignity and affection.
One of the strongest aspects of
...more
Suzanne
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the vein of Station Eleven, Jenni Fagan pens a gentler, poetic, and profound "snowpocalypse" tale. Despite my increasing wariness for dystopian tales, this one manages to feel quite fresh. The world is undergoing something of an icy Pompeii, and it's progressing more quickly than any scientists foresaw coming. It's snowing mostly everywhere, temperatures won't stop plummeting to alarming depths, and civilization is running out of places to outrun it.

Dylan MacRae, a loner who worked at his fa
...more
Suzanne Leopold
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
giving away a copy on my blog https://www.facebook.com/suzyapproved...#
Lark Benobi
I'm torn on how to review this novel. I recognize the writing as unique and I feel that Fagan was trying for something new, and taking chances, which are always things to be applauded. And it also feels to me as if many people will enjoy this book--possibly fans of Neil Stephenson and William Gibson--even though I didn't enjoy it myself. For me the story felt underdeveloped, and the syntax felt a little unmoored from any concrete idea I could make for myself about what it meant. There are too ma ...more
Fran
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The winter of 2015-16 was one of the warmest winters on record. Fast forward to 2020. In the Sunlight Pilgrims, climate change causes the coast of Scotland to experience a rapid drop in temperature from -6 degrees in November 2020 to -56 degrees in March 2021. The polar icecaps are melting. The coastal village of Clachan Fells is one of many places where residents will be snowed in, light deprived, and experience severe cabin fever. Even worse, some residents could freeze to death. This could be ...more
Freda Mans-Labianca
Not for me.
I am so sad that this book flopped for me. I really wanted to like it... I do love dystopian reads, but I felt so confused by most of it.
So much detail, and yet I often felt like the pieces went nowhere. I was waiting for the moment when I would be like, okay, wow, but it didn't come. I was confused by Dylan and Constance more than anyone in the book and I thought it was supposed to be centered around Stella.
Was I not supposed to get it? Did I miss something?
I don't know.
Yup, this boo
...more
Sarah
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a tough one to rate. I had a whole conflicting mixture of feelings while reading this, and I even felt the need to write some notes about it on my phone while I was still reading it, which I never do.

I'll begin with what I liked about it. I thought the characters were great - to start off with the story follows Dylan, who moves from London to Scotland as the apocalypse begins, and after he becomes a part of his new neighbours lives we mostly follow them - 11-year old Stella and her mothe
...more
Skip
Feb 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It's 2020, and the world is slowly freezing. The two main characters: teenage Stella, who was until recently a boy named Cael, and an ex-Londoner Dylan. Mix in some weird dynamics with mother Constance and a remarried father, who is struggling to cope with his daughter's sexual identity, and now you've got some idea of this novel. Dylan is also reeling from the back-to-back loss of his mother and grandmother. I was quite amused when Stella tosses a plastic container of ashes into Dylan's backyar ...more
Hannah Greendale
The most interesting facet of The Sunlight Pilgrims is the promise of a global apocalypse, but the author treats this element of the book as an afterthought. The main characters are stationary in their desires and personalities. There are no quotation marks, and identifiers are rarely used, so the dialogue is difficult to follow.

Borrowing the words of Jeff Vandermeer: "Please also recognize that no good ever came from not putting dialogue between quotation marks, or use of some other easily not
...more
Jessica
In the near future global warming has thrown the world into dystopia. The plot is a but all over the place due to following so many characters.

This has potential, and it may be a better read for someone with a better understanding of U.K. slang. Thus was a bit slow moving for me, I do feel I need to add that I prefer a very fast moving plot, and am easily distracted if there isn't nonstop story progression. The thing that saved this for me? This author can write. I would love to see more from he
...more
Bonnie
‘The North Atlantic Drift is cooling and Dylan MacRae has just arrived in Clachan Fells caravan park and there are three suns in the sky.
That’s how it all begins.’


The North Atlantic Drift is a wind driven current of warm water that is responsible for the warmer climates in Europe. The ongoing thaw of the polar ice caps result in massive amounts of fresh water being released in the oceans, vastly changing its salinity. Changes in salinity have the potential to unsettle ocean currents and thus o
...more
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Apocalypse Whenever: July 2018: "The Sunlight Pilgrims" by Jenni Fagan 126 74 Jul 29, 2018 11:39AM  
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Jenni Fagan was born in Livingston, Scotland, and lives in London. She graduated from Greenwich University with the highest possible mark for a student of Creative Writing and won a scholarship to the Royal Holloway MFA. A published poet, she has won awards from Arts Council England, Dewar Arts, and Scottish Screen among others. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice and shortlisted f ...more
“When grown-ups hear a little dark door creaking in their hearts they turn the telly up. They slug a glass of wine. They tell the cat it was just a door creaking. The cat knows. It jumps down from the sofa and walks out of the room. When that little dark door in a heart starts to go click-clack click-clack click-clack click-clack so loudly and violently their chest shows an actual beat - well, then they say they've got bad cholesterol and they try to quit using butter, they begin to go for walks.
When the tiny dark door in her heart creaks open, she will walk right through it.
She will lie down and inside her own heart like a bird in the night.”
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“...the child of a wolf may not feel like she has fangs until she finds herself facing the moon, but they are still there the whole time regardless.” 3 likes
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