Set in a Scottish caravan park during a freak winter - it is snowing in Jerusalem, the Thames is overflowing, and an iceberg separated from the Fjords in Norway is expected to arrive off the coast of Scotland - The Sunlight Pilgrims tells the story of a small Scottish community living through what people have begun to think is the end of times. Bodies are found frozen in the street with their eyes open; midst economic collapse, schooling and health care are run primarily on a voluntary basis.
Dylan, a refugee from panic-stricken London who is grieving for his mother and his grandmother, arrives in the caravan park in the middle of the night - to begin his life anew. Under the lights of the aurora borealis, he is drawn to his neighbour Constance, a woman who is known for having two lovers; her 11-year-old daughter, Stella, who is struggling to navigate changes in her own life; and elderly Barnacle, so crippled that he walks facing the earth.
But as the temperature drops, daily life carries on: people get out of bed, they make a cup of tea, they fall in love, they complicate.
The Sunlight Pilgrims, the thrilling follow-up to The Panopticon, is a humane, sad, funny, odd and beautiful novel about absence, about the unknowability of mothers. It is a story about people in extreme circumstances finding one another - and finding themselves.
"[A] vivid and tender coming-of-age story set at the end of the world.... For all its coldness and darkness, The Sunlight Pilgrims is ultimately a hopeful book - and for a novel that describes the end of the world, that is quite a feat." (Kirsty Logan, Guardian)
"The Sunlight Pilgrims evokes a chillingly plausible near-future...intimately imagined." (Paraic O'Donnell, The Spectator)
"Fagan's vivid, poetic-prose style injects the book with energy. She writes at the pace of thought, sentences like gunfire.... She has a poet's affection for precision and image." (Sophie Elmhirst, Financial Times)
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Beautiful writing, terrible ending