‘A gripping new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Pursuit of Happiness and The Moment’
– Afraid of the Light
[ About the Book ]
Brendan has always lived a careful, constrained life. A salesman who never liked the work, he’s a man who has stayed in his marriage and his faith because it was what was expected of him. But now, having lost his job after corporate downsizing and on the cusp of sixty, he finds himself scrambling to somehow stay afloat in the only Los Angeles work on offer to a man his age – driving for Uber.
When one of his rides, a retired professor named Elise, asks to be dropped off outside an abortion clinic where she now volunteers, Brendan finds himself literally driving right into the virulent epicentre of one of the major issues of our time, engulfing his life in the process.
Afraid of the Light by Douglas Kennedy is out now, published by Hutchinson in paperback original.
[ My Review ]
Afraid of the Light by Douglas Kennedy was published July 8th with Hutchinson and is described as ‘a novel of high suspense and considerable moral complexity, a tough, affecting social thriller that speaks volumes about the corrosive divisions of our troubled times.‘ I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today as I join the blog tour in conjunction with ed PR so I do hope you enjoy.
Afraid of the Light is Douglas Kennedy’s fifteenth novel and, without question, is a controversial read with very strong themes of religion, abortion, sex abuse, violence towards women while also highlighting the life of the Uber driver. Set in California, it is the story of Brendan, a fifty-six year old man married to Agnieska and with one daughter, Klara, in her twenties. Brendan worked for the same company for nearly thirty years but recently was made redundant. With little choice and bills to pay, Brendan becomes a driver for Uber. The pay is a lot less than what he would have earned in the past resulting in him working extremely long hours. His daughter no longer lives at home and Brendan’s relationship with Agnieska has been fractured for years. His home life is far from happy but his love for his daughter is very clear.
Brendan has always lived his life by the rules but now he is starting to ask questions about himself and the path he now finds himself on. Treated like scum by many of his rides, Brendan has to bite his tongue and take the verbal abuse and derogatory comments. Any talk back would give him a negative review on Uber thus affecting his future earnings. Life is hard for Brendan.
One day Brendan picks up an older lady, a retired professor, Elise Flouton, and drops her off at her chosen destination. Within minutes, Brendan is witness to a shocking incident, one that is to have a huge impact on his life and his marriage. Elise is a doula for abortion clinics leaving Brendan, a lapsed Catholic, in a confused state. Following a tragedy in the early years of his marriage, Agnieska suffered greatly but turned to God and to religion for support. Over the years her beliefs became more extreme and her stance on abortion is clear. Agnieska is determinedly pro-life and protesting at abortion clinics is a regular feature in her day. She is guided by her priest Todor, who also happens to be Brendan’s best friend. There is a melting pot of views within this group and with Klara, who is very much against everything her mother stands up for, Brendan feels constant pressure from all sides.
Circumstances seriously escalate for Brendan, following his initial meet up with Elise and he has to dig deep within himself as he decides to take a course of action that will have ripple effects far beyond his own immediate world.
Afraid of the Light would be an excellent book-club choice due to the number of relevant societal themes woven through the plot. It asks many ethical questions of the reader, with a complexity of dilemmas that will split opinion. A challenging and disquieting novel, Afraid of the Light leaves the reader examining their own beliefs and feelings. What would you do if you were Brendan? What choices would you have made? A profound, engaging and intriguing read from Douglas Kennedy.
[ Bio ]
Douglas Kennedy is the author of fifteen novels, including the international bestsellers The Big Picture, The Pursuit of Happiness, Leaving the World and The Moment. More than 14 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide and his work has been translated into twenty-two languages.
His latest novel, Afraid of the Light, will be published by Penguin Random House UK on 8 July 2021.
Twitter ~ @DKennedy_Novels