My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jenni Fagan's second novel and my second read of hers too, The Sunlight Pilgrims brings us an odd bunch of characters at a caravan park in northern Scotland in the leadup to and beginnings of the most extreme winter known. There's Dylan, a giant of a man, who has just lost mum and gran, and the arthouse cinema they lived in and ran in London. His mother has left him a caravan. He arrives ashes in luggage en route to send them off in the islands beyond. Stella, a determined transgender kid at a critical moment, already lives on site with her mum, a bit of a survivalist who upcycles discarded furniture and sells it on as shabby-chic. Barnacle, a hunchbacked old man who loves the skies is one of their neighbours. He has had lots of money and lostit, drunk it away and otherwise spent it all . These are marginal lives, rooted in realism but their story is written which poetic touches of mysticism. Fagan is herself a poet. The plot is relatively straightforward, somewhat slowly revealed, but the book holds the reader. As a second novel this clearly signed a future worth attention. I have her third and latest novel Luckenbooth on my to be read pile.