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Mr Golightly's Holiday: A Novel Paperback – December 9, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
English author Vickers (Miss Garnet's Angel) has a light hand with themes that touch on issues of faith and sin, and her tale of Mr. Golightly, taking a break from his labors in a Devonshire village to see if he can create a worthy successor to his hugely popular and influential first book, begins with wonderful promise. Mr. Golightly's real identity, as well as that of his magnum opus and his chief business rival, is hinted at with delightful delicacy; and the fact that he chooses not to create any supernormal happenings, but to deal bemusedly with the people of his creation just as they are, makes him particularly endearing. Vickers is on sure ground with her creation of the more raffish of Golightly's new neighbors, but the introduction of a ravaged widow, Ellen Thomas, moves the book into murkier psychological waters. After a while the book's good humor begins to evaporate, and there is a highly melodramatic climax, followed by a weird chapter of discussion between Golightly and his rival that is reminiscent of the conclusion of The Brothers Karamazov and seems quite jarringly out of place. Vickers has a delightful if occasionally overwhimsical wit and writes charmingly of nature, human and otherwise, but the book fails to live up to its highly original central conceit.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The unassuming Mr. Golightly, author of an international best-seller, journeys to the small village of Great Calne, in Devon, England, leaving his extensive business interests in the hands of his trusted assistants, Michael and Gabriel, and his secretary, the superefficient and conscientious Martha. While on holiday, he plans to write a sequel to his best-seller but instead finds himself caught up in the lives of his neighbors, including Luke, struggling to write a Native American creation epic not in the rhythm of Longfellow's Hiawatha; young Johnny Spence, who reminds Golightly of his long-dead son; an escapee from prison; and many others. Vickers reveals Golightly's true identity only gradually, and one topic for book-club discussion will surely be, When did you realize who he really was? As in her first two novels (Miss Garnet's Angel, 2001, and Instances of the Number 3, 2002), Vickers writes here about faith, love, and mystery as they manifest themselves in everyday life. By turns witty and profound, comic and tragic, this is a good choice for libraries where Jan Karon's Mitford series is popular. Nancy Pearl
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Describing the "plot" or "story" of "Mr. Golightly's Holiday" doesn't do the novel justice. As with any artwork, the indefinable affinity between the artist's world and the artist's audience, is what matters. If the reader does not feel affinity for Vickers's characters, then this novel is probably not a good match for the reader.
What an "unhelpful" review for a prospective reader! If it helps at all, I will say that "Mr. Golightly's Holiday" reminds me of J.K. Rowling's novel "The Casual Vacancy," which I also loved. Both novels encompass an enclosed world--a village/town--populated by very "real" characters; that is, people who can be petty, mean, manipulative, self-serving, and on and on, but at the core, people who are big-hearted, compassionate, wise, giving--just trying to do their best within their situations and limitations. People who are, often, just very sad, but manage to rise above their own concerns.
Mr. Golightly rents a cottage in a Devonshire village for a holiday. The various characters we meet in the village all have difficulties of some sort. Some hidden and some obvious. The book describes the different points of view and we gradually learn the effect the villagers have on each other.
Just by his presence and his demeanor, people seem to behave and feel better in Mr. Golightly's presence. However, after learning all about the village, I found the ending a bit disappointing. The reader has so many hopes for the villagers that I personally felt a bit let down with the anti-climactic ending.
As for Mr. Golightly, he leaves us all up in the air with merely suggestions of who he really is. I had the feeling that the author wrote this light novel for herself. I do recommend it but with reservations.
I will be reading more of her works to see if her discriptive methods continue.
I enjoyed this novel and recommend it to others.