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Radiant Shimmering Light

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A nuanced satire--both hilarious and disconcerting--that probes the blurred lines between empowerment, spirituality, and consumerism in our online lives.

Lilian 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 soc
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published December 4th 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published May 2018)
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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
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!’

‘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
Steph VanderMeulen
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
Mandy White
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
Laurie Burns
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Carrie Klassen
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil Dwyer
Oct 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
I’m confused
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,
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
like having a chocolate bar for dinner because you're too hungry to cook
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Christina McLain
Oct 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
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
Andrew Binks
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this book down. Funny, refreshing, and deceptively light (as I believe another reviewer put it), it managed to disturb and inspire me at the same time. Recommended for anyone who works online, tries to make art AND make a living, or feels addicted to their smart phone...that should cover everyone! I've never read anything quite like this, and although it was entertaining it left me with a lot to think about.
Jacquelyn Taylor
I received a copy of this book from Sarah Selecky in exchange for a review, the opinions are my own.

I couldn't put this book down! Billed as chick lit, an easy summer read, a quickie read, this story is all of those things and so much more. Radiant Shimmering Light is for anyone who lives their lives online: the influencers, the influenced, the side hustlers, the artists; in short, all of us.

Sarah's deft prose and amazing ability to parse out the intricate details of character shimmers through
Lori Twining
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky & it was a fantastic summer read! It's the perfect book for struggling women artists wanting to squeeze magic from their creative minds. The references to social media were witty, sarcastic & hilarious. This was a fun book to read while basking in the radiant sunshine, nestled within the hammock on my back deck. Now, I'm left wondering what colour my aura is...
Liana Kreamer
The concept of this book had a lot of potential, but it didn’t quite get as far as I would have liked by the end. Recommended for readers who enjoyed Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
Carole B
I loved Sarah Selecky’s Giller-nominated collecting of short stories, This Cake is for the Party. Each story tells us about a transformative moment in its main character’s life. Everyday, seemingly trivial observations give weight and heart to her words. I couldn’t wait to delve into her first novel—Radiant Shimmering Light—just-released in Canada. Surely, the novel would be more of the same, right?

Not so fast. When you start reading about Lilian, a struggling Etsy artist who sees auras of fur b
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure I understood the ending, but I loved Radiant Shimmering Light. It left me blinded, so to speak, thinking about the meaning of all the colours and auras. All six days it took to read (remember I'm retired,) I wondered about these social media-addicted characters and Lilian Quick, the main character's need to have money and how that played into her choices.
To back up a little, I should say it was scary how compelled these characters were to checking their twitter feed and posting on
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's with a bit of disappoint that I write this review. I really wanted to like RADIANT SHIMMERING LIGHT, and invested myself in to the 'Perfect-Yourself' self-improvement moments that Selecky describes so well in the book. I guess it depends on your temperament and attitude towards these self improvement communities that will determine how you receive Lillian Quick, and towards the beginning of the novel I liked her. She was fun, and I loved how she felt so real but then as the novel progresses ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compulsively readable, this is a book that comes alive for readers, with vivid imagery and dialogue that feels authentic to the times we're in. It's hard to have a book feel so contemporary - by the time you've gone through all the steps of publishing, two years have usually gone by since the book was submitted. Yet Sarah has managed to forecast the future to write a book that feels almost too current.

This is a book that can be gobbled up, but there's a lot here to recommend a slow (or even a s
Natalie Taylor
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this novel which dwelves into the addiction we have to social media and how it takes over our lives and the commodification of spirituality. The novel's protagonist, Lillian Quick, has a very distinctive voice and I think a lot of people reading this in her demographic can relate. I also think this is a beautiful tribute to the creative process and listening to your own voice and intuition. The satire induced more than a few laugh-out-loud moments.

What I didn't like was the latte
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

From Amazon:
"A sharply funny and wise debut novel about female friendship, the face we show the world online
and letting your own light shine."

My thoughts:
I've been eagerly anticipating Canadian author Selecky's first novel since I read her wonderful short-story collection in 2013. Radiant, Shimmering Light is everything I expected, and yet it's different.

Lilian Quick is a financially struggling pet portraitist, who sees pets’ ‘auras’. Her cousin Florence, whom she hasn’t seen in 20 ye
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Florence and Lillian are old-fashioned names, but these characters in Sarah Selecky’s new book are anything but. Driven by social media, new-age psychology, and internet stardom, the heroines of Radiant Shimmering Light demonstrate their power, hesitance, and talents for seeking out the vulnerable (and their auras) in this fast-moving tale. Lillian, the Canadian cousin of the charismatic-veering-to-the-charlatan American, Florence — with the new name Eleven— gets caught up in Eleven’s organizati ...more
(3.5 stars) *Thank you Harper Collins for sending me a free advanced reader copy of this book*

I really struggle with how to rate this one. I felt strongly that the ending would make or break the book for me, and while it definitely didn't make it, there was enough ambiguity that it didn't break it either. I never strongly felt that the book was a satire, though I know (?) it is. Perhaps because I never bought in that Ascendency was being ridiculed? I never related to Lillian and there seems to b
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A rather thought provoking book as well as being funny and satirical. How can we become empowered to change our life and what part does consumerism play. Radiant Shimmering Light is a fun read. The main character, Lillian Quick, a struggling artist who paints animal aura portraits. Through the book you will see her develop, once her cousin Eleven comes back into her life.

There are blogs, emails, dogs, paintings, over priced items, empowerment brands and high powered communities of women that are
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The satire in this was so perfectly subtle. It lampoons the MLM/self-realization trend so perfectly. The author takes aim at the “focus inward to focus outward” mentality and pithy, non-sensical sayings of self-made gurus that are constantly charging across our social media feeds. She intelligently mocks the perfectly curated lifestyle feeds of social media celebrities and even subtly chastises the leveraging of trauma (disguised as “realness” and “sharing my story”) by bloggers to make money. T ...more
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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.

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