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Mr Golightly's Holiday

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'In her first novel, MISS GARNET'S ANGEL, Salley Vickers defied the current dictats of publishing and delighted readers by demonstrating that a book with serious themes can be both accessible and popular. With subtle skill she wove together a woman's late discovery of her inner life with the timeless and mysterious Apocryphal story of the quest of Tobias. In MR GOLIGHTLY'S HOLIDAY she is even more daring. The story is - in Dante's sense - a Divine Comedy within a modern setting. Balancing profundity with wit and intensity with delicacy of touch, she explores the relationships between life and death, between loss and fulfilment, between sin and redemption. Above all, her novel resonates with a quiet and haunting joy.'

Ann Swinfen, Dundee

'It has been a while since I so enjoyed reading any novel and so regretted reaching its end. Salley Vickers illuminates the human condition with optimism, gentle humour and genuine empathy.

The comedy and tragedy of everyday life is deftly inter-woven with lyrical descriptions of the natural world, believable dialogue and characterisation, making credible the central character of Mr Golightly.

This book is that rare thing, a thought-provoking literary novel executed with the lightest touch. Sadness at turning the final pages is tempered by the sure knowledge that this is the first of several readings. I can look forward to reading it again ... and again.'

Helen Issac, Watford, Herts.

'I found this book almost unbearably sad and yet, at the same time, full of hope. so that these emotions mingled and combined. William Blake said "Joy and woe are woven fine" and in the book Salley Vickers quotes Blake's "A robin redbreast in a cage/ Puts all heaven in a rage". It is a book which is very Blakean, both in its apparent simplicity and its penetrating truths about the human heart. It is also, which is unusual for books which are moving, very funny. Quite unlike anything I have read before.'

L.Hughes, Battersea, London

'This is a book that will sell itself by word of mouth, much as MISS GARNET did. Book groups will love the multi-layered story of this modern day fable. There is much to discuss. I highly recommend it.'

Anne Frost, Shepherton, Middx..

'MR GOLIGHTLY'S HOLIDAY is a book which delights, intrigues, fascinates and which gives the reader a warm feeling. But saying that it is not a cosy or easy read. The book makes the reader ask many questions, some of them unanswerable.

With a richness of language, beautiful descriptive passages, thought-provoking narrative and characters who are totally believable, it is perfect for readers' clubs as there is so much for discussion.'

P.E. Gall, March, Camb.

'Readers of Salley Vickers's two previous novels, will know from the start that this is likely to be more than 'an everyday story of country folk' or an entertaining comedy of manners. Indeed, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that there is a much deeper meaning. Ms Vickers, under the guise of a simple narrative, treats the big themes of life and death, love, good and evil. The novel runs from March to June and the changes in the countryside and the wildlife are lovingly portrayed.

This is a very enjoyable novel. It is, initially, a pleasant read, but more deeply is a multi-layered fable. offering much for a group to discuss.'

Margaret Tinsley, St Albans, Herts

'A superb read. I couldn't put it down but didn't want to finish it and I will definitely read it again soon.

The book took hold of me in the first chapter when you view the arrival of the visitor through different villagers' eyes. I was immediately drawn to Johnny Spence and the developing friendship between him and Mr Golightly. The book doesn't so much centre on Mr Golightly but is about the adaptation and change in the villagers' lives due in some way to his influence and personality.

The novel is multi-layered and is a rich blend of interweaving personal stories with connecting themes. It would be an excellent choice for a readers' group. I would recommend it to anyone of all ages.'

Alyson Scarlett, Wakefield, W.Yorks

'Salley Vickers has a talent for up-to-date detail, so the modern reader has much to relate to. The emotions described are true, these things people experience from day to day.'

Linda Simmons, Yarnton, Somerset

'This novel is brilliant for reading groups. There is much for discussion on whatever level you take the story. It deserves to be read at least twice for full appreciation of its joys.'

Alison Brice, Horley, Surrey

'Salley Vickers is a writer with exceptional abilities. Her stories hold the reader's attention from page one. Her range and use of words are a delight. The emotion is there for all to feel; reading her descriptions, it is easy to see the beauty of a summer dawn, the mist on the hills. I enjoyed MISS GARNET'S ANGEL but MR GOLIGHTLY'S HOLIDAY was one great read.'

Eileen Fox, Gosport.

'I was engrossed from the first and found the book absorbing and very cleverly written right up to the last.'

Sandra Ford, Milford, Surrey

'As one who admires the multiple strands of plot, characters etc. of really good soap operas I was agog at the skill with which Salley Vickers deploys the genre in a fantastically deft and unobtrusive way to produce a novel that's both moving and completely hilarious.

Many people can write books that have those qualities, but the difference here is that Vickers's novel works at the level of the sentence. Over and over again, I found myself savouring the individual groups of words, admiring the way the whole thing was put together and also the way the enormous body of knowledge she has at her disposal is never rammed down your throat. All the allusions are there if you can/want to pick them up, but you wouldn't feel a fool if you didn't get them all, nor would your enjoyment of the novel suffer in any way.

I liked MISS GARNET'S ANGEL - but this one is divine!'

Adele Geras, Manchester

'This novel starts strongly and hooks the reader in the first few pages. The structure is clever and it is satisfying the way several strands come together at the end. The book is full of interesting and convincing characters. An intelligent book and a very good read'

Brian Strudwick, Huddersfield

'The author skilfully draws the reader into the life of Great Calne and straight away I was turning the pages, intrigued by the characters and enjoying the story. But I wasn't prepared for how much the book was going to make me think. It can be read on so many levels. I approached it as a well-written village novel, but it soon proved to be far more than that.

Mr Golightly himself is a magnificent creation. The mystery of his son's death is a powerful narrative hook. At first I couldn't believe what was happening, but gradually it became clearer and now I can't wait to re-consider the beginning of the book in the light of these revelations.

I very seldom re-read contemporary novels but this one is definitely worth re-reading. I imagine it would engender a lively discussion in any readers' group and I look forward to recommending it to mine.'

Juliet Bromley, Winterbourne Stickland, Dorset

'A true enigma which would spark a lively debate within a reading group. Full marks to Salley Vickers. I cannot wait to read her other novels.'

Doris Shiels, Norfolk

'An immensely enjoyable read and I felt like reading it again straight away to find all the references that I had missed the first time. Vickers comes across as an intelligent and imaginative author; her books are easy to read but also thought provoking. This is her best so far.'

Beverley McWilliam, Wokingham, Berks

I found the book a real page turner. When one scene ended and another took over I couldn't wait to get to the next episode from the former. When you have to put it down (e.g. to answer the phone or door) you feel it as an intrusion - just like Mr Golightly - even if you're pleased to hear from the intruder.'

Linda Bolton, Banbury, Oxon.

'The book manages to be hopeful and heartwarming without being banal as so many "sunny" books are. It is a reminder that good literature doesn't have to be depressing, and is a thought provoking meditation on love which I am already looking forward to re-reading.

Sarah Chaffe, Mickleover, Derby

'An unusual story though it starts conventionally enough. The plot twists from the superficial to the profound - sometimes quite unexpectedly. Salley Vickers explains at the end of the book her view of the thin line between tragedy and comedy and this gives the book its interest - we cannot pigeon-hole it but become intrigued by the deeper truths it tries to portray.

It is also a refreshing affirmation of the innate goodness and kindness of humanity, even in the face of adversity, but without the style ever becoming schmaltzy.'

Stella Thebridge, Sutton Coldfield

'The prose is superb, as one has come to expect from this author. This is a book I shall re-read. It is a strange book but a magical one which, once read, will not be quickly forgotten.'

Frances Kennedy, Shenstone, Staffs

'A book about love and loss: but not that slushy love so beloved of some fiction writers. This is a love which allows each person the space to be their own self.

Salley Vickers develops her characters well. These are real people, with genuine problems and joys. I read this book easily, but there is a level of underlying profundity which makes it much more than a beach read.'

The Rev, Sarah Hillman, Sandy, Beds

'"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons..."
I was reminded of this 1692 DESIDERATA when reading MR GOLIGHTLY'S HOLIDAY.

I liked the father/son relationship between Mr Golightly and Johnny Spence with Johnny replacing Mr Golightly's dead son. As with MISS GARNET'S ANGEL, we have a death at the end of this book. Mr Golightly helps to change the life of one of his main characters (Johnny) but the other (Ellen) dies in tragic circumstances. And That's How Life Is.'

Carol Gorton, Stoke-on-Trent

'Vivid and vibrant descriptions. One could smell the mists rolling over the moor and see the birds in flight. '

Jayne Roper, Longfield, Kent

'I didn't see the end coming. It hit me with quite a jolt. There were one or two clues along the way, but nothing that gave the game away.

I have only praise for this book. A lovely story, and an unexpected and quite thrilling ending. Highly recommended.'

Val James, Upminster, Essex

'Salley Vickers has chosen the beautiful countryside of Devon as the setting for her latest book and it is with a true sense of escapism that the novel opens with Mr Golightly driving into the village for his holiday.

But this is not a soap opera. The story is like a gossamer web, light and intricate, but strong. Into it is woven folklore, poetry and Biblical references mixed with earthy reality and all the complexity of human relationship. But it is in the dialogue that the story comes alive, for Vickers has a sharp wit and a fine command of language.

Mr Golightly is a man with a hidden sorrow in his life, the death of his son, and the real significance of this becomes clear in the unexpected ending, which first comes as a surprise - and then seems the inevitable and satisfying conclusion.'

Rosemary Dowie, Weston-Super-Mare

'The landscape and animals are described with a painterly expertise, depicting colours, light, movement and moods. Images of birds present a picturesque and dream-like foil to the human world.

Characters are described in ways which demonstrate their own natural speech and digressive thoughts. There are many thoroughly enjoyable contrasts within the novel: material/spiritual; stereotypes/complexity of human nature; reality/dream; reason/superstition; God/the devil.

Altogether a very enjoyable book: a humorous and lighthearted look at humanity with nevertheless some profound considerations. A rich novel with many strands which would certainly be worth reading more than once.'

Daphne Jones, Darlington, Durham

'I've loved all Salley Vickers's novels but none more than this one. Dazzlingly clever, funny and unusually kind.'

Stuart Powell, Oxford

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