Publication Date: 02/05/2024 ISBN: 9781787334991 Categories: ,


Sarah Perry

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication Date: 02/05/2024 ISBN: 9781787334991 Categories: ,


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A story of love and astronomy told over the course of twenty years through the lives of two improbable best friends

‘Gorgeous… Ethereal’ GUARDIAN
‘A book with cosmic reach’ FINANCIAL TIMES
‘A romance worthy of Emily Bronte’ WALL STREET JOURNAL
‘A genre-bending novel of ideas’ TELEGRAPH
‘Sarah Perry just gets better and better’ INDEPENDENT

Thomas and Grace are fellow worshippers at the Baptist chapel in the small Essex town of Aldleigh. Though separated in age by three decades, the pair are kindred spirits – torn between their commitment to religion and their desire for more. But their friendship is threatened by the arrival of love.

Thomas falls for James Bower, who runs the local museum. Together they develop an obsession with the vanished nineteenth-century female astronomer Maria Veduva, said to haunt a nearby manor. Inspired by Maria, and the dawning realisation James may not reciprocate his feelings, Thomas finds solace studying the night skies. Could astronomy offer as much wonder as divine or earthly love?

Meanwhile Grace meets Nathan, a fellow sixth former who represents a different, wilder kind of life. They are drawn passionately together, but quickly pulled apart, casting Grace into the wider world and far away from Thomas.

In time, the mysteries of Aldleigh are revealed, bringing Thomas and Grace back to each other and to a richer understanding of love, of the nature of the world, and the sheer miracle of being alive.

Publisher Review

Enlightenment is a complete masterwork – ambitious, crafted, truly artful. With its intersections of faith, physics, love and wisdom, I imagine we will be quoting lines from the novel for years to come. It holds page after page of luminous prose, playful intelligence, storyteller’s wit and companionship, and the rarest compassion. Like the comets within, the reader travels headlong through the book’s darkness and beauty, alongside universal laws and mysteries, aligning with both human matter and spirit. Sarah Perry is an extraordinary maker, of unique mind, sensibility and gifts; her writing is, as ever, lit by sheer brilliance — Sarah Hall, author of The Electric Michelangelo A book about grace, written with a faith in awe and in elemental love, Enlightenment is full of both ordinary and extraordinary wonders. Sarah Perry has brought all her wide empathy and joy to this novel: its characters are rich and vivid and tenderly human. Enlightenment is not only a book that seems to redeem its world, but to redeem its readers. It is a gift — Sean Hewitt, author of All Down Darkness Wide A book in which everything is kindled into light by Sarah Perry’s rapt, luminous attention: friendship, betrayal, faith, astronomy, the drizzle on the streets of Essex and the heavens above them — Francis Spufford, author of Golden Hill Once again Sarah Perry has gifted us with an ambitious story impeccably imagined in poignant prose; a beautifully nuanced novel of love in all its aspects, artfully marrying faith and science into something truly beguiling — Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of Pandora Sarah Perry has the rare gift of committing the uncommittable to prose – that is to say: here is a writer who understands life — Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist The Essex Serpent is one of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade — Sunday Times Melmoth is one of the great achievements of our century * Observer *

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