Electricity

Electricity

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Ray Robinson

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  • Publisher: PICADOR
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 197mm x 24mm | 247g
  • Publication date: 2 March 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0330440691
  • ISBN 13: 9780330440691
  • Sales rank: 217,597

Product description

Lily's epilepsy means she's used to seeing the world in terms of angles -- you look at every surface, you weigh up every corner, and you think of your head slamming into it -- but what would she be like without her sharp edges? Prickly, spiky, up-front honest and down-to-earth practical, Lily is thirty, and life's not easy but she gets by. Needing no-one and asking for nothing, it's just her and her epilepsy: her constant companion. But then her mother -- who Lily's not seen for years -- dies, and Lily is drawn back into a world she thought she'd long since left behind. Forced to renegotiate the boundaries of her life, she realises she has alot to learn -- about relationships, about the past, and about herself -- and some difficult decisions ahead of her. 'An eviscerating debut novel ...Its fast, furious plot, kaleidoscopic imagery, blunt observations and a wry, ingenuous, hugely compassionate heroine make Electricity a breathtaking assault on the senses' Guardian 'An energetic debut, bristling with talent ...It's black, savage, funny and rather uncomfortably haunting' The Times 'Ray Robinson's Electricity is a thorny, uncompromising novel, with attitude. It is also -- thanks to Lily O'Connor, its sharp-edged, hard-living, tough-talking narrator -- mesmerising, uplifting and unexpectedly tender' JIM CRACE

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Author information

Ray Robinson was born in North Yorkshire in 1971. He trained as a graphic designer and spent many years living in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. An award-winning short story writer, he is currently writing his second novel. He lives in London.

Customer reviews

By Toby 09 Aug 2011 5

Great book, that I've read twice and enjoyed moe the second time (which doesn't often happen). One of those books that makes me envious of people who have yet to read it.

Review quote

"'An eviscerating debut novel... Its fast, furious plot, kaleidoscopic imagery, blunt observations and a wry, ingenuous, hugely compassionate heroine make Electricity a breathtaking assault on the senses' Guardian 'An energetic debut, bristling with talent... It's black, savage, funny and rather uncomfortably haunting' The Times 'Ray Robinson's Electricity is a thorny, uncompromising novel, with attitude. It is also -- thanks to Lily O'Connor, its sharp-edged, hard-living, tough-talking narrator -- mesmerising, uplifting and unexpectedly tender' JIM CRACE"

Editorial reviews

A vividly portrayed, most unconventional protagonist dominates this punchy first novel from an award-winning British short-story writer.She's 30-year-old Lily O'Connor, a sufferer from temporal lobe epilepsy since early childhood, when her intemperate and unstable mother threw her down a flight of stairs. Lily tells her own story, which begins when her mother (from whom she was "taken away" following the aforementioned "accident") dies, and Lily leaves her entry-level job taking tickets at an amusement park arcade and heads for London, seeking her two brothers. She finds - but discovers she has nothing in common with - sleek, self-absorbed Barry, a professional card player interested in nothing beyond training himself for the World Poker Open. But Mikey, the brother she loved, who had gone missing years earlier, is still nowhere to be found. Adrift in London (which she envisions as "a pile of bodies writhing like fat worms in a fisherman's box"), Lily makes connections doomed to short-circuit: with Mel, the woman Cambridge grad and banker who takes her in (and undoubtedly loves Lily, secretly and guiltily); and with the cryptic Dave, a smug, secretive electrician (symbols clash here) who becomes her lover and abuser, echoing the pattern in which preadolescent Lily had been caught up with her mother's creepy boyfriend Don. The details of such relationships are cliched, and there's too much of the social worker's casebook in other's observations of Lily. But whenever we're inside her own thoughts and perceptions, the novel soars. Innovative typography helps: images of pills Lily takes, lined up in a row; skewed, distorted jumbles of letters, denoting her frequent convulsive seizures. And Lily's voice is impressive - raw, angry, emotionally urgent, rising frequently to inchoate poetry (e.g., water in a canal runs "oily and slow . sound[s] like treacle glooping. Stench like burnt toast").She's a survivor like no other, and the mixed pleasure of inhabiting her jagged psyche is the best reason for reading this daring tightrope-walk of a novel. (Kirkus Reviews)