Monday, September 28, 2009

Selling Light

Peter Cooper is one of those rich young men who wake up every morning wondering what the world can do for him today. Self-centered to the degree that he truly believes he has been placed upon the Earth simply to enjoy himself, Cooper surrounds himself with people who acquiesce to his supposed superiority. That he will one day cross paths with George, the lighthouse keeper, and young research student, Briege, is unfortunate but not so surprising.

After all, when George decides to use the internet to sell his life, who is more likely to purchase it than someone like Peter Cooper? George, filled with personal despair, is ready to sell, and Peter, who will buy anything he thinks might amuse him, has the money to buy George’s life on a whim. And that is exactly what happens.

Meanwhile, Briege goes merrily along studying crabs and other assorted creatures offered up by the little seaside village. Briege, though, is no ordinary researcher. Rather, she comes to know the crabs she studies as individuals, even to drawing their personal portraits in her notebook, naming them, and recognizing them as individuals with personalities when she spots them again days later. Briege’s problem is that she relates better to the crabs than she does to people.

Effie Gray’s Selling Light offers a glimpse into the lives of people who are totally unprepared for what they find and feel when they stumble into each other. Gray often uses humor to make her point about the nature of modern relationships in a world in which so many find it impossible to form long term connections, but her message is both serious and sad.

Selling Light is another in the Roast Books series of Great Little Reads, books designed to be read in one or two sittings spread over a couple of hours. As usual, the back cover of the book contains its “List of Ingredients.” This time around those ingredients are: “Dilapidated Lighthouse, Obsessional Research Student, Identity Crisis.” Effie Gray brews up a complicated and entertaining little story from those ingredients.

Rated at: 4.0

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