Nominated by:

Tampere City Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bloomsbury Publishing, UK

The Light of Amsterdam

David Park      

2014 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

The author proves in this novel that he really knows how to paint light with words. The Light of Amsterdam is a compelling read: the stories of the six main characters intertwine and interact subtly and touchingly, the descriptions are both artful and tempting, the prose is poetic and the plot convincing. A seemingly simple weekend abroad turns into a beautifully written, empathic epiphany. All in all an insightful, moving and accessible novel that easily draws the reader in from page one.

About the Book

It is December in Belfast, Christmas is approaching and three sets of people are about to make their way to Amsterdam. Alan, a university art teacher, goes on a pilgrimage to the city of his youth with troubled teenage son Jack; middle-aged couple Marion and Richard take a break from running their garden centre to celebrate Marion’s birthday; and Karen, a single mother struggling to make ends meet, joins her daughter’s hen party. As these people brush against each other in the squares, museums and parks of Amsterdam, their lives are transfigured as they encounter the complexities of love in a city that challenges what has gone before.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

David Park has written seven books including Swallowing the Sun, The Big Snow, The Truth Commissioner and, most recently, The Light of Amsterdam. He was the winner of the Authors’ Club First Novel Award, the Bass Ireland Arts Award for Literature and three-times winner of the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award. He has twice been shortlisted for the Irish Novel of the Year. He lives in County Down, Northern Ireland with his wife and two children.

Librarian’s Comments

A profound and poignant novel about pilgrimages, human relationships, generation gaps, and the past, present and future. As less is often more, so can small things sometimes be larger than life.

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