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Radiant Shimmering Light: A Novel

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3.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,227 ratings  ·  229 reviews
A sharply funny and wise debut novel about female friendship, the face we show the world online and letting your own light shine, from the Scotiabank Giller Prize–shortlisted author of This Cake Is for the Party

Lilian Quick has looked up to her cousin Florence her whole life. Florence is everything Lilian is not—brave, confident, quick to find adventure and American. The w
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ebook, 368 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published May 2018)
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Average rating 3.19  · 
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 ·  1,227 ratings  ·  229 reviews


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Kylie D
A wonderful novel, I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading it, which I did in one day!

It sees Lillian, a struggling Canadian artist who paints the auras of people's pets, reuniting with her estranged cousin Florence. Florence is now known as Eleven, and has created an empire with a website and seminars to help women feel empowered and to be the best they can be. Lillian moves to New York to join Eleven's team and soon finds wealth and prosperity flowing her way through her blog, wh
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Steph VanderMeulen
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most beautiful tributes to creation and creating I've ever read. Sarah's insight into the struggle of what it means to make things and be happy doing it, or, being true to oneself, juxtaposed with how to make a good living doing what you love, is electric. Not only has she accurately captured the struggle but she's managed the balance between satire and humour and sobering truth, particularly around the predominantly women's empowerment movements (think Oprah, Liz Gilbert, Mar ...more
Phil Dwyer
Oct 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
It's not that I don't get what Sarah Selecky was aiming for. It's not that I don't think she's a great writer. It's not even that I found the premise of this book to be flawed in any way. The narcissism of the social media generation thoroughly deserves to be eviscerated in print: they would make Narcissus himself blush (at least he only fell in love with his reflection in a pool). It's that I couldn't bear to spend another second in the protagonist's empty head. It's annoying enough when they a ...more
Text Publishing
‘In Radiant Shimmering Light, @SarahSeleckyWS nails the Perfect-Yourself 35-43 gen in all of its hopeful internet-brand-conscious pyramid-scheming empowering goddessiness. Social satire + cultural insight whipped into a yummy froth! You’ll laugh + shed a tiny precious tear, my petals!’
@MargaretAtwood

‘Selecky has written a satirical and contemporary novel about the enlightenment and life-branding industries…An intriguing novel which will elicit a wide range of responses from readers. I can’t thi
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Barbara
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Loretta
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
I got a free copy of this book for review from the author.

I am...not entirely sure what to think of this novel, honestly. I'd probably rate it at a 3.5 because of this confusion. I've seen a number of reviewers call it satire and I just don't see that. It's too earnest - at least, the character of Lilian is too earnest, and too sort of sad and pathetic and lost in the beginning.

The good: the writing is lovely, with many lyrical descriptions and also some sly humor. The story itself, the subjec
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Mandy White
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
What a great book! Not the sort of book I normally read but I was hooked! It made a change from my usual murders and serial killers!! It was funny, clever and thought provoking . I thougherly enjoyed it. It made me think about how I deal with struggles in my life and what I said it that we really want.

The story of 2 long lost cousins. Best friends as kids but a family feud pulled them apart. It is 20 years later and Lillian is a struggling artist in Toronto, while cousin Eleven is an internet se
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Laurie Burns
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian
If you have read some of my posts before, you might know I have a bit of a problem with the whole "branding of influencers" and having a "personal brand" and people always advertising products. Sometimes I feel like Instagram is just a place where people can try to sell you things and make believe their life is perfect.  I also have a bit of an issue with people trying to sell "safe-care". The self-care industry is worth billions of dollars in North America, with people shelling out money everyd ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
This is one that will sit with you, and I do need to better formulate my thoughts so I can express coherently. Because I'm not going to sound coherent here. But - this is an excellent and biting satire about the ridiculousness of our lives and how they've become this way in a social media age. How we express ourselves has been taken over by this need to market ourselves - for instance, Lillian's "friend" sends out impersonal newsletter emails that are littered with product placements and this "i ...more
Bandit
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was meant to be a satire. It’s advertised as such, which was the main attractor for me, because I really like satires. Also, because normally I would never read a blatant chicklit thing like that. But the thing is this book just didn’t read like a satire. I’ve been trying to put a finger on it, figure out why and I’m still not quite sure. I do know that it just didn’t read like some satire greats like Christopher Buckley or Max Barry. In fact this read pretty much like chicklit. Which is we ...more
kp
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
like having a chocolate bar for dinner because you're too hungry to cook
Christina McLain
Oct 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Utter utter crap. This book pretends to be a satire on female empowerment cults and our desire to consume everything around us instead of creating useful fulfilling lives but the line between satire and sincerity is so blurred that it's difficult to know what exactly what message the author is sending us. The truth, I think, is that Lilian was a complete fool and that her cousin sold the golf balls when they were kids, just as she created the appalling Ascendancy. Women will never get together b ...more
Carrie
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have never read a book like this one. It is light and deep, witty and fun, satirical and innocent. I think it’s making a particular statement... and then, it doesn’t. (It lets me make my own.) For me, it’s a breezy summer read that is also a meditation on the is-ness of the universe and what it means to be human (IRL and on the internet). I loved it.
Stephanie
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m confused
Mel
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve had to pick this up and put it down a few times over the last month and the haphazard way I read it reflects my final feelings on it, which are weak. Though I’d give it ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’d only rate it as such because I made it through to the end but I don’t know why I persisted or what I got out of it. I closed the book as confused as ever about the MC.

Lilian Quick is a lost 40-year-old virgin, behind on rent and trying to promote herself and her artistic practice online in the hopes of the emulati
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Libby
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing novel that turned into a real page-turner for me. Sarah Selecky's wonderful story is either a tribute to, or a satire of, New Age feminine empowerment cum marketing juggernauts, I can't decide which. But the writing is bang on the nose and the characters are relatable and recognizable. I really loved the narrative about modern society's use of (enslavement to?) technology and social media. I docked a half star because the auras and mystical elements of the story felt unreal to me, ...more
Melissa
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was fun to see the world through the narrator Lilian Quick’s eyes - her new age mantras, vegan indulgences and eccentric artsy spirit. This didn’t feel like a story so much as a snapshot of a zany, self-help company/cult. I kept waiting for the catch. Was the cousin a con artist? Would Lilian reject capitalist success for the artistic life? But no big reveal ever came.

I enjoyed this book for its peek into the world of quasi-spiritual business empires. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
Donna Hines
One woman struggles one seems to be rolling in money.
How can they find happy ground as the online world is ripe for the taking?
What if her estranged cousin Eleven can use her success to help Lillian 'See the Light'?
Ahhh the power of wealth can be magical if you just believe and find the confidence from within to achieve even your wildest dreams.
Or so it goes...
For me I couldn't fit into this puzzle of wonderment so I'm out.
I hope you enjoy...
Kate Merriman
I was loving the sharp satire and well-drawn characters, but then was left hanging a bit too much with the ending. I understand an author leaving some interesting ambiguity... but too many unresolved questions left for this reader to wrest real satisfaction from the story or gain a solid grip on the author’s point of view. What is being satirized versus what is being held up as valuable?
Jaclyn Crupi
I would have preferred a subtler touch but this is a pretty interesting takedown of all things wellness/sponsored/self-empowerment/inspo-preneurship.
Katie
Jan 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
What in the liberal hell did I just read? Awful. The most awful thing I've ever read. No likeable characters, plot was just....awful. I cant believe I wasted my precious reading time on this.
Seema Rao
Cult life marketing-style as a satire of our personality-driven society. Some Nice written passages but too flat in general
Brooke Waite
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-favorites
This was completely outside my preferred genre, but I LOVED it!!! I picked it up on a whim at the library and I’m so glad I did. It made me think and it made me laugh...what more could you want! 😉
Lillian is a 40 year-old artist who paints pet auras. She is unmarried, childless, and struggling just to get by when out of the blue she reconnects with her cousin, Florence, after 20 years! Florence, aka Eleven Novak, has rebranded herself as a powerful, influential women’s empowerment guru and she se
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Zoom
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, fiction
Unusual novel. I don't know quite what to make of it! The protagonist is a 40 year old artist who sees the auras of animals and has an active social media life. She reconnects with a cousin who is the founder of some kind of cultish corporate spiritual organization called The Ascendency. You know, one of those super-woo-woo monetized enlightenment things. She leaves her life and moves to NYC to accept a job with her cousin's organization, The Ascendancy.

It's about women, connection, community,
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Mary
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I only put it down when I had to- for driving or going to work! A fresh voice, unlike anything out there right now...a very enjoyable read!
Rachel
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Radiant Shimmering Light was the last book I finished in 2018 and it was an enjoyable, quick read for me. It was timely in its light satire of social media, female empowerment, wellness culture, and general woowoo beliefs. ⁣

The allure of a quick fix is REAL, and the writing here is sometimes as persuasive as it is satirical. There were times when I really identified with Lillian’s struggle between believing and doubting, positivity and practicality, attention seeking and withdrawal.⁣

Still, the
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Katie Marsh
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meh, read-in-2018
I bought into the hype and this didn’t pay off. I adore a good satire book and really thought this would be a hit for me, but it was a slog. I didn’t find it amusing or clever, but hey, at least I finished it.
Crystal Hiatt
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is a societal statement regarding the need for other people's approval, rather that be through social media engagements or pandering self-help commentary. Though the narrator strives to embody female empowerment, she is so desperate to please other people and cares so deeply about their opinions of her that she looses herself in the mix. All of this is explored through her own self talk, emails received and her constant need to check social media.
This is an examination of one's self
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Andrew Binks
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't want this story to end. Selecky holds up a mirror to our obsession with social media and self marketing tools and leaves one torn between when to laugh and when to cry. Relationships are threatened, compromised or created by the ever-present need to be out there, to garner more followers and to be validated in cyber space.
I found, as I have in the past with Selecky's writing, that she manages to create prose that works on the reader's sub-conscious; you know you're been affected, but ho
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Shari
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ilian Quick is 40, single, and childless, working as a pet portrait artist. She paints the colored light only she can see, but animal aura portraits are a niche market at best. She's working hard to build her brand on social media and struggling to pay the rent.

Her estranged cousin has become internet-famous as "Eleven" Novak, the face of a massive feminine lifestyle empowerment brand, and when Eleven comes to town on tour, the two women reconnect. Despite twenty years of unexplained silence, El
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Sarah is the author of Radiant Shimmering Light, This Cake Is for the Party, and the founder of the Sarah Selecky Writing School, est. 2011, which is now a creative community of more than 18,000 writers from around the world. She is alumna of Hedgebrook, the Humber School for Writers and The Banff Centre, and graduated from the University of British Columbia with an MFA in Creative Writing.

This Ca
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