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Twice the Speed of Dark

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  39 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A mother and daughter circle each other, bonded by love, separated by fatal violence.

Dismayed by the indifference she sees in the news to people who die in distant war and terror, Anna writes portraits of the victims, trying to understand the real impact of their deaths.

Meanwhile her daughter, killed by a violent boyfriend, tells her own story from the perplexing realms of
paperback, ebook, 220 pages
Published November 24th 2017 by Unbound
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Mairead Hearne (
'Who mournes the death of strangers?’

Twice the Speed of Dark is the debut novel from Unbound author Lulu Allison. Just published, it tells the story of a mother and daughter who, although separated through death, are still tied together with invisible threads!!

This is quite a profound book and the first book in a long time that I felt the need to read out loud…

Twice the Speed of Dark is a very complex novel dealing with the subject of tormented grief in quite an unusual manner. Anna is total
Simon Miller
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We all have to deal with the loss of a loved one, a cornerstone to our life, but grieving is also a unique experience at two levels taking its toll on our emotions but also entailing a mental struggle with mortality and the meaning of life. Lulu Allison takes us into this dark terrain with a mother, Anna, grieving the death of her twenty year old daughter Caitlin, but she extends the reach of this remarkable book by giving Caitlin a voice from the grave and Anna the additional burden of believin ...more
Katherine Sunderland
This is a very unusual and highly original novel. The author's artistic background is evident from the mesmerising, poetic and lyrical flow of the words which paint a vivid portrayal of grief and loss. The narrative is divided between Caitlin and her mother, between third person and first and the use of italics for Caitlin's sections enhances the dream like quality of the prose as Caitlin speaks to us from whatever unknown limbo that she finds herself inhabiting.

'To start with, when I was first
Maximilian Hawker
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Twice the Speed of Dark, Lulu Allison's debut novel, is a little like a triple-layer chocolate cake: rich and dense. It is rewarding on so many levels, achingly poignant and written with a rare level of descriptive talent. For those who have suffered loss and endure grief, I imagine that they could turn to any number of passages in this book for comfort and wisdom, in much the same way a Christian turns to passages in The Bible for support.

It is not for everyone though and is far from 'light' r
Bonnye Reed
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
GNA Twice the Speed of Dark is a very interesting story. Told in the first person of a mother and her 19 year old murdered daughter, Twice the Speed of Dark takes place in a small town outside of Oxford, England. Caitlin is killed when her live-in boyfriend Ryan loses his temper one time too many and swats her good again, but in her fall she hits her head on a piece of furniture and dies. The jury saw this sweet faced blonde fella and decided it was manslaughter, giving him jail time of just a l ...more
Mary Monro
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a brilliant writer. The topics covered in the book are extremely difficult and delicate and Lulu handles them with deft, dizzying clarity. She has the clear gaze of the dispassionate observer while her empathy allows intimate portraits of both a dysfunctional relationship and terrible heartbreak. I am completely awestruck. More please!
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quality Rating: Four Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Three Stars

◆ Thank you Lulu for sending me your lovely book for review ◆

At the heart of Twice the Speed of Dark is the dark subject of domestic violence, but the black hole of Anna’s story is grief. How does one deal with the loss of a child? Where does the responsibility of blame get placed when that loss is the consequence of something darker? And why is justice not final to those involved?

The story of this novel goes in little circles like a cyclone
JJ || This Dark Material
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
I did not finish this book after making it about 25% of the way through. The prose is absolutely beautiful and I would strongly recommend this to any reader who prioritizes language over everything else. What I did read was a lyrical portrait of grief with some very evocative imagery...but it moved incredibly slow. This just wasn't the right match for me, unfortunately. I don't want to penalize an author just because our tastes don't align, however, so I'm taking the middle ground between no rev ...more
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's very hard for me to either like or dislike this book. The all encompassing prose broken only by four (short) dialogues throughout the novel made it pretty hard to follow for me. But the language of the prose made the effort worth it. Though I do not know Anna's grief, I do know grief. And the portrayal offered by the author struck a chord with me. Many chords, actually. I did not expect such a poetic encounter with death, loss and repair. It's breathtaking. ...more
Tom O'Brien
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
A detailed and moving meditation on grief and its debilitating effects. The prose is evocative and haunting. I cared about the characters enough that from the start I was hoping for peace for both the living and the dead.

The admittedly slow pace succeeds expressing the grinding pain of loss, rather than being boring. The power of memory, revenge and injustice are other major themes.

Ivy Ngeow
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You do not know the every day minute by minute power of a mother's love until you have read Twice the Speed of Dark by Lulu Allison. I was gripped by the beautiful, moral and liquid prose and at times moved to tears. Everybody has a mother. This is a book you cannot race through. Each line requires thought and emotion. Each line is a reflection of the emotional side of our mundane existence.

Anna is the living dead and yet she struggles because she is alive, despite of and all the more because o
Miles Hudson
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If I only read the blurb for Lulu Allison's, Twice the Speed of Dark, I almost certainly wouldn’t buy it. I like literary fiction, but stories about families and emotions are just not my thing. However, I’m really glad I read this book. It is beautifully written and compelling: the intensity of a mother's grief at the death of her daughter is so strongly imparted that one can only marvel at Lulu Allison's writing talent.

Early on, I got a strange connection to Ohran Pamuk’s ‘The New Life’. The b
Debbie Littley
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Anna’s daughter Catlin was killed by her boyfriend who in a heated argument that became physical ended up resulting in her death and his incarceration for manslaughter. He received a sentence of 10 years. Now, neither women can move on, Anna in this life and Catlin in the afterlife, both trapped by the events of that night.

The story is told by both Anna and her daughter which gives gives the plot depth as well as twice the emotions!

For Anna life stopped on that day and grief threatens to pull he
Corinna Edwards-Colledge
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I met Lulu at a literature event during the Brighton festival as we both had stalls there promoting our books. We got chatting and decided to do a book swap. I gave her Return of the Morrigan, and she gave me Twice the Speed of Dark. I'd say about one book in every ten I read stays with me, and Twice the Speed of Dark is one of them. It wasn't an easy or simple read, there is no dialogue, for example, until page 55; but it is absolutely worth investing in. My only tiny observation is that occasi ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
From reviews I’d read around publication time, I didn’t expect this book to be an easy read. And for a whole range of reasons, both style and subject matter, it really wasn’t. But what I hadn’t been prepared for was the exquisite beauty of the writing. I’ll admit that for the first few pages I really thought it might not be for me – I like my reading to be fairly straight-forward with a clear story arc and a pace to the narrative, and I felt I might struggle. But once I’d settled and felt more c ...more
Eli Allison
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A poetic and visually arresting book, you can feel the elegant imagination on every page. The voice of the daughter Caitlin was particularly original; she speaks from the other side, and the way Allison describes this place it truly feels, ‘other’. The weaving of the cosmos into Caitlin’s journey was a creative touch which I’m more than a little jealous I didn’t think of. Allison has a lovely way with words and this literary novel is brimming with concepts and insight. Not an easy beach read, bu ...more
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The story of a mother and a murdered daughter was not something that I would normally go for. I was given the book as a suggestion during many months of lockdown.

However, Lulu has captured the despair of Anna eloquently and she wills the reader to become frustrated at Anna's inability to deal with her past. With a topic so relevant with the recent death of Sarah Everard, the last few chapters really hit home with this tragic event.

Such a simple but sad story. Worth the read!
Lolly K Dandeneau
via my blog:
'Caitlin’s death caused a split, a warp that skewed Anna so she no longer fit the smooth planes of her life. She was changed by her loss. But so was everything. Grief shone a different spectrum of light; it revealed the well-formed, polished facets of normality as flawed, deceitful. The world did not respond in a way that made sense. Her daughter had been killed and no one beyond a small circle of family and close friends seemed to care.'

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