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eBook First light ePub

eBook First light ePub

by Peter Ackroyd

  • ISBN: 0241124980
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Subcategory: Literature
  • Author: Peter Ackroyd
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin; 1st ed. edition (1989)
  • Pages: 328
  • ePub book: 1935 kb
  • Fb2 book: 1782 kb
  • Other: azw mobi lrf mbr
  • Rating: 4.2
  • Votes: 290

Description

This is definitely an oddball book. I have never read Peter Ackroyd & didn't know what to expect yet it's theme resonated with me.

This is definitely an oddball book. Quote from Damian: Did you hear how I was caught in the underground passage for a while? It was there I first realised it.

First Light begins with an ominous coincidence: the reappearance of the ancient night sky during the excavation of an astronomically aligned Neolithic grave in Dorset. Peter Ackroyd was born in London in 1949. A group of eccentrics - archaeologists, astronomers, local rustics, a civil servant, and a stand-up comic - converge on the site, disturbing the quiet seclusion of Pilgrin Valley. Someone (or something) is trying to sabotage the best efforts of the excavators, headed by Mark Clare, to unearth the dormant secrets of the burial ground. He graduated from Cambridge University and was a Fellow at Yale (1971-1973).

Peter Ackroyd, CBE, FRSL (born 5 October 1949) is an English biographer, novelist and critic with a particular interest in the history and culture of London. For his novels about English history and culture and his biographies of, among others, William Blake, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot, Charles Chaplin and Sir Thomas More, he won the Somerset Maugham Award and two Whitbread Awards.

by. Ackroyd, Peter, 1949-. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Trent University Library Donation. Internet Archive Books. Uploaded by station14. cebu on August 23, 2019. SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata). A group of eccentrics archaeologists, astronomers, local rustics, a civil servant, and a stand-up comic converge on the site, disturbing the quiet seclusion of Pilgrin Valley.

Peter Ackroyd Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, "the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian .

A gripping short biography of the extraordinary Wilkie Collins, author of The Moonstone and The Woman in White, two early masterpieces of mystery and detection. Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely near-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colorful clothes, Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, "the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists," from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as a writer, his years of fame and his lifelong friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens.

Good copy - clean, no markings or inscriptions. Some tanning to page edges. DW has minor wear. Overall, good tight copy.

Comments

Moogugore Moogugore
Peter Ackroyd has a thing about the past coming back to haunt the present. That sounds like a pretty straightforward theme, and is the basis of so many novels - and yet Ackroyd takes this idea and turns it into such a transformative yet disturbing experience that the result is very different than the one I initially imagined.

I'm not sure what I expected when I first picked this up. Perhaps I was thinking of the darkness of Hawksmoor, except transplanted to the English countryside. But from the very start of the novel, this was something different: the musings of an aged astronomer form the opening, musings that extol the wonder of the bigness of the universe, the incredible largeness of it all... described in such a way that make the reader and the world they live in feel very small, very minor. After that strange and unsettling opening, the reader is shown the life of various amusing and quirky - for lack of a better phrase - "English types". There are bumbling archeologists. Hilariously pretentious bureaucrats. Dramatic theatre types. A horny Scottish lad and his flirty assistant. Odd, close-lipped, slightly sinister farmers (Farmer & Boy Mint, my favorite characters). And malicious country village queens who would be at home in the world of Mapp & Lucia. All the characters come together, in one fashion or another, around the dig of an increasingly sinister archaeological find in the countryside. The story consists of many small and varied chapters: pithy comedies of manners, obliquely off-kilter episodes full of ambiguity, and sometimes barbed, sometimes wistful domestic vignettes.

Yet underneath many of these characters and scenes, there is melancholy and fear, slowly churning away. For all of the funny one-liners and deadpan character bits, this is a novel with tragic death, disturbing dementia, and a longing for oblivion at its core. It is both adorable and chilling, in equal parts. The mysteries of life and where it all comes from, where it all is going, remain unsolved, of course. The mysteries of why we do the things we do and to what end are also left for the reader to contemplate. This is a novel full of much wit, but the overall feeling I was left with was one of almost transcendent yearning, as felt by the characters, and as felt a bit by me when realizing that this yearning is, as always, destined to remained unfulfilled. Such is life!
Danrad Danrad
This is not a scary book - unless you scare very easily. Neither is it a book with a lot of suspense - you'll see stuff coming from way off. It is, though, a story about people put together into an unusual setting - and that's a very good story.

We have an archeological dig near a small town populated by some 'interesting' folks, including the extensive Mint clan. There's more going on with the dig than the finding of artifacts. The outsiders who come to this country setting are confronted with life-changing situations - and some handle them better than others.

Ackroyd has (again) given us a plot that is easy to follow but deeper than it seems. It's also very, very funny. Add this one to your books to be read.
Undeyn Undeyn
First Light by Peter Ackroyd. Grove Press. Copyright, 1989. 328 pages.

...Once there were creatures of light leaping across the firmament, and the pattern of their movement filled the heavens. But the creatures soon fled and in their place appeared great spheres of crystals which turned within each other, their song vibrating through all the strings of the world....Aldebaran...the great star.... One hundred and twenty times brighter than the sun....In this same area of the sky...small cones of light, called the Hyades and believed to be at a greater distance from the earth--cool red stars glowing within the clouds of gas which swirled about them. And close to them the lights known as the Pleiades, involved in a blue nebulosity which seemed to stick against each star, the strands and filaments of its blue light smeared across the endless darkness. Behind these clusters they could see the vast Crab Nebula, so far from the earth that from this distance it was no more than a mist or a cloud.... Galaxies. Nebulae. Wandering planets. Rotating discs. Glowing interstellar debris. Spirals. Strands of brightness that contained millions of suns. Darkness like thick brush-strokes across a painted surface. Pale moons. Pulses of light. All these coming from the past, ghost images wreathed in mist.... I am on a storm-tossed boat out at sea, the dark waves around me. This was what the earliest men saw in the skies above them.... A hundred thousand million galaxies. A hundred thousand million stars in each one.
The above quote came from Page 1 of this amazing book. It's probably the best first chapter I've ever read. The reader is immediately sucked into this awestruck world that acknowledges the vastness of the cosmos, its by-product of cosmic energy, and the enveloping cosmic consciousness that is inherent in every aspect of creation under heaven and earth.
It's a story about prehistoric men and their quest to understand the cosmology of the night sky and to question why they are here on planet earth. It's a tale about ancient mankind forging customs and folklore from their understanding about the meaning & origins of life and sharing their knowledge with future generations.
The early mythology begins 3500 years ago, when ancient man looked up at the firmament of heavens and dared wondered the meaning of their existence. Man saw stars as fire torches burning brightly the memory of all that came before them between the dark spaces of the universe where somewhere beyond the sight and knowledge of mankind, lay portals to our origins where we return to at the time of death.
Page 328 describes it this way: ... Our bodies are made out of dead stars. We carry their light inside us. So everything goes back. Everything is part of a pattern. We carry our origin within us, and we can never rest until we have returned.
Mark Clare is an archeologist that stumbles across an underground tumulus in Dorset, England at Pilgrin Valley. He's received official permission to begin an excavation of the ancient site dating from the Megalithic Period, 3,000 years ago. Almost immediately his crew unearths a stone plinth covered in celestial markings that tell of the great star Aldeberan and which leads to an underground maze.
Unsure of the meaning of the pictograph, he befriends an Astronomer, Damian Fall nearby at the Holbrook Observatory. Fall has been studying for decades the constellation of Pleiades and in particular the red dying star of Aldeberan.
As the story unfolds all sorts of unsettling incidents occur including escapades with eccentric, local characters; experiencing surreal events like strange places, time warps, or cottages with white masks nailed to a ceiling, underground caves, ancient spells and ancestral burial places, and other unnerving coincidences which of course, impact the lives of the main characters. The languid & simplistic tone of the story effectively enhances the eeriness of the situation and the unusualness of the tale.
In one incident, Damian struggles to understand his role as a cosmic being which is excellently described in detail on pages 155-156. Here's part of it:
Darkness. And I, too, am an aspect of that order, a relic of earliest creation which space & time have now woven together: nothing can happen to me without subtly altering the shape of the visible universe. I too am moving away through limitless space; I am part of that infinite expansion which seems to me to be an infinite horror. Yet I am not my self; I am as evanescent and as shifting as every other part of the cosmos, a fortuitous arrangement of particles, a small plateau in the endless decomposition of space and time, a stasis in the struggle of forces which has turned into matter.
Darkness. And yet I am not matter; I am merely the space through which the forces of the universe pass, just as the billions of neutrinos pass through me in their journey across the cosmos. I am of the same order of being as a gas cloud, or a constellation. Everything is watching everything else and now.... He wanted to flee. But where could he escape to? He could not flee to the sky. He knew that there was no sky. He knew that it was only light which had been trapped....

All in all, it's an outstanding, enjoyable read that opens us to the cosmic realities of our very nature. This is where mankind's new understanding of the cosmos merges with the ancient concepts of spirituality. A modern religion of Quantum Physics meets Hinduism and indeed, it's a fine attempt at understanding these two gargantuan concepts in a well written, sublime story.