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Mr. Golightly's Holiday (Review)

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Mr. Golightly's Holiday
Salley Vickers, 2003
368 pp.

Book Review by Molly Lundquist
May 2010

A quiet, strange and intriguing book. Told lightly (pun intended), with a dose of whimsy, the novel explores profound themes—how do we choose between good and evil; what does love entail, and what does it demand of us?

An unassuming, rather unattractive little man, Mr. Golightly wrote a book, years ago, that achieved wide-ranging fame. Based on the book, Golightly built a large, powerful enterprise—which lately seems to be losing ground to the competition.

Now he has come to a small Devonshire village to take a much needed break...and perhaps to rework his great opus. It needs an update, he thinks; perhaps along the lines of a soap opera. He could call it That's the Way Life Is.

The village of Great Calne, offers a host of eccentric characters, and despite Mr. Golightly's desire for solitude, he finds himself drawn into their comings and goings. Of course, this being set in a quaint English village, there's the requisite local pub—the Stag and Badger—where shenanigans are always afoot. Who's jumping in and out of whose bed...or planning to?

Mysterious happenings, however, hint at something deeper than the usual English village tale of love and loneliness: occasional visions of a pale horse, cryptic messages in Mr. Golightly's email inbox, and a flaming gorse bush that speaks of love. What's going on here?

Toward the end, the novel's charm and humor give way to a somewhat disappointing heavy- handedness and a forced surprise ending. BUT...don't let that deter you. This is still a very rich read...and Vickers grapples with vital life issues in an engaging manner. Book clubs will chew on her ideas endlessly!

See our Reading Guide for Mr. Golightly's Holiday.

 

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