Starlight

Starlight Gladys and Annie Barnes are impoverished sisters who have seen better times They live in a modest cottage in the backstreets of Highate with Mr Fisher a mild but eccentric old man living secretively

  • Title: Starlight
  • Author: Stella Gibbons
  • ISBN: 9780099528692
  • Page: 448
  • Format: Paperback
  • Gladys and Annie Barnes are impoverished sisters who have seen better times They live in a modest cottage in the backstreets of Highate with Mr Fisher, a mild but eccentric old man living secretively in the attic above them Their quiet lives are thrown into confusion when a new landlord takes over, a dreaded and unscrupulous rackman He installs his wife in part of theGladys and Annie Barnes are impoverished sisters who have seen better times They live in a modest cottage in the backstreets of Highate with Mr Fisher, a mild but eccentric old man living secretively in the attic above them Their quiet lives are thrown into confusion when a new landlord takes over, a dreaded and unscrupulous rackman He installs his wife in part of the cottages in the hope that there she will recover from an unspecified malady With a mounting sense of fear, Gladys and Annie become convinced she is possessed by an evil spirit

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      Published :2018-08-05T23:00:57+00:00

    1 thought on “Starlight”

    1. This is not the book to read if you are expecting a light hearted novel with perhaps some elements of the fantastic. This is a story woven with the blue and the dim and the dark cloths of night a story that touches on themes of old age and illness, of loneliness and the fear of the harsh and pitiless world out there, themes of poverty, selfishness and occasionally even of racism. At its very heart lies evil: that of possession by an evil spirit that we don’t like to believe in but which the wr [...]

    2. I really thoroughly enjoyed this novel from Stella Gibbons, which was undeservedly out of print for many years before Vintage brought it back for us. It is fair to say that it is quite a strange, dark novel rather different to Cold Comfort Farm which is what most people associate Stella Gibbons with. Gladys and Annie are elderly sisters living in two rooms in one half of a pair of dilapidated cottages in a quiet back street of London. Annie is bedridden while Gladys attends church and cleans at [...]

    3. Stella Gibbons has the reputation of being a one-hit wonder - Cold Comfort Farm both immortalised her name but also overshadowed everything else she ever wrote. A few years ago Vintage decided that this was terribly unfair and decided to re-issue her back catalogue. I had a go at Westwood given that Lynn Truss claimed that it was the Persuasion to Cold Comfort's Pride and Prejudice but alas I found it a bit grim - at the time I was still living with my parents and found a few too many parallels [...]

    4. I was thrilled to find out that Vintage Classics is reprinting some Gibbons and rushed to buy several from UK. I had only read Cold Comfort Farm, of course, hilarious and easily her best-known book, and Nightingale Wood, a charming, slightly satirical Cinderella story, which Virago reprinted a couple of years ago. Starlight is very different from both of those in plot and setting, but shares the same keen eye for social class differences. Gladys and Annie Barnes are sisters living in near pover [...]

    5. I just finished reading Starlight and am feeling a bit gobsmacked. I had only read Cold Comfort Farm and Westwoood, so was really not expecting what this book delivered. In fact, I might not have read it at all had I known more about the plot beforehand. Like a couple of the book's characters, I'm not into creepy (other than the CCF kind). Stella Gibbons was a more talented writer than I had realized, because I was not at all put off by the plot developments. Gibbons can certainly write characte [...]

    6. Starlight is three unrelated ideas in search of a book. It's occasionally funny -- it's by Stella Gibbons, after all -- but it is very uneven in tone, and as a short book with a large cast, it is almost inevitably shallow and unsatisfying. I'm surprised to see the number of reviews that describe Starlight as "dark. The first few chapters or so are fairly dark (and, interestingly, could have been written as a stage play), but there is an abrupt change of tone when we realize that what we thought [...]

    7. I loved this book - I have only given it three stars because I don't think it's a great book, but it is a good one and I did love it. It is unusual, increasingly so, thanks to the supernatural element. Some bits didn't quite work for me (don't want to give plot spoilers), but the characters and their situations were wonderful and wonderfully drawn. It's a book I kept longing to go back and read and read more slowly as I got towards the end as I knew I would miss it a lot. I loved the atmosphere [...]

    8. I bought this book, something I rarely do anymore, because Stella Gibbons also wrote Cold Comfort Farm. CCF is one of those books that the reader hates to see end. So, I wanted to see how this sterling English writer from the 1930s through the 60s fared in later books. Starlight was not as funny as CCF but had the same affectionate skewering of her characters. There's nothing phony or patronizing about Ms Gibbons' relationship with her characters. She doesn't tar her villains nor sanctify her he [...]

    9. I really enjoyed this book after nearly giving up after the first chapter. The characters came to life, reminded me of Dorothy Whipple's ability to take the front off a house and let you look inside. Interesting to see a slice of life in post war London. Had to google what a 'rackman' was ! This is my favourite Stella Gibbons yet, was so glad to find she has written many more.

    10. I wanted to reread Bassett after I finished it. Truly. I'm not sure that feeling has left me. This is not Bassett. And, it is also kind of extraordinary. And weird. Stella Gibbons is responsible for making me read a book that is largely (but not entirely) about a woman possessed by an evil spirit. That is a surprising sentence. I'm not the type that goes for books that concern themselves with exorcising (is that how you spell that?) demons. I might have to revise this sentiment. I kept reading. [...]

    11. I love Stella Gibbons novels and this one, despite taking one of the strangest turns, was no different. It started off by introducing us to two elderly sisters - Gladys and Annie - living in a boarding house with their quirky neighbours. Then their lives are turned upside down when new landlords - Mr and Mrs Pearson - take over and begin to make changes. This, I thought, would be what the plot of the novel revolves around. How very wrong I was. What starts off as a lovely little social comedy ta [...]

    12. The main thing I really loved was the characters and the main characters I really loved were the elderly. The character of Gladys was hilarious and so well drawn. I could really hear her voice in my head and while I could see that she might be an irritating sort to know, she was a delight to read. Her sister Annie was great too, the dialogue between these too was so well written, it was so natural and accented. What I got more of with Annie was her appearance, I could see her perfectly and hear [...]

    13. This could have scored a lot more highly if it hadn't veered off towards the end into a pretty infantile take on religion. I'm not saying that religion can't be treated intelligently, just that there is a certain monsters-under-the-bed concept that can take root when you're 6 years old and if that never gets revised then it can make an otherwise mature author sound like a very daft bunny indeed. Graham Greene (whose work I love) steers close to the kamikaze with his nursery room Catholicism at t [...]

    14. I read STARLIGHT many years ago. I remembered enjoying it, that it dealt, perhaps rather unexpectedly for the author, with demoniac possession (what would Flora Poste have said?) and one detail of that exorcism: the patient, endless repetition of the demand for the demon's name. But what I had not remembered is what a very good book this is. I am so glad I now have a copy that belongs to me and I can go back to when I wish. The description of London, the way the author catches the feeling of the [...]

    15. Lynne Truss, in her introduction to these recently re-issued novels, said what I'd always thought, too - that Stella Gibbons had written one book and that was Cold Comfort Farm. I'd figured that if you'd written such a pearler, why write another? But Lynne did a bit of digging and found that Stella Gibbons was no Harper Lee, and had actually written twenty-five novels, three volumes of short-stories, and four volumes of poetry. Starlight is one of the twenty-five that have been resurrected, and [...]

    16. Despite having read numerous reviews, I was still surprised at just how dark this book is - couldn't be any more different to Cold Comfort Farm and Westwood.The last couple of chapters thoroughly creeped me out and I think I read the whole last half of the book faster than any last half of any book in recent memory! Gibbons builds the tension incredibly well and - cliche alert - I couldn't put the book down towards the end.Fantastically well-written and incredibly creepy - can't believe this was [...]

    17. I was astonished by Cold Comfort Farm, a book club choice from last year so I've been continuing to read more by Stella Gibbons who is now thankfully being republished by Vintage Classics. Starlight is the story of the existence of two elderly sisters living in a lodging house in post WW2 London. The setting consists of the house and the small village area consisting mainly of the church and local shops that make up the small, almost claustrophobic world of the spinsters. Its a beautifully obser [...]

    18. A very unusual book which succeeded in keeping me intrigued, while also making me smile with its characters and conversations. The scenes with the sisters and their conversations with their neighbours are straight out of an Ealing comedy, but there is also a darker truth that lies behind the day to day, such as Mr Fisher's fate. The north London setting is very well portrayed, as is the austere simplicity of the time. Quite what it was all about is an open question, so a good candidate for a rea [...]

    19. It wasn't badly writtenI just found this rather boring. The first half was a struggle and I nearly gave up several times. I skim read the second half and was rewarded by an amusing fight between 3 old ladies and their dogs, well written with shades of the dry humour of Cold Comfort Farm. Overall, disappointing. I don't think it helped that the main character was an annoying old lady who reminded me of a particularly annoying old lady ex-neighbour who I was always glad to have moved away from!!

    20. This is a very strange book, difficult to describe or categorize-- humor rubbing shoulders with horror. Except for a few passages, it was not a page-turner for me, but though it took me a while to work my way through it, I found it intriguing. I wouldn't recommend this book to just anyone, as I think it would bore most-- also, I think I am unlikely to want to reread it (in the near future? ever?)-- but I'm glad I've read it once. This is an interesting story about an unusual collection of charac [...]

    21. I have to admit the cover drew me in with this and the fact that I had finished my first Stella Gibbons book a few weeks before, Nightingale Wood, which I loved.This however was a lot darker and seemed a little all over the place. Parts of it were compelling and the last few pages had a twist I did not see coming.Some of the characters were deplorable and some quite lovable. Maybe I should try her masterpiece Cold Comfort Farm next.

    22. Think I may be a bit of a simple reader, I don't think I really "got" this book. To my mind the story about the 2 Barnes sisters was interesting as was the descriptions of daily life in London. The occult part of the story didn't really work - wasn't enough of it or developed fully. Also somehow found it difficult to actually read, my mind kept wandering off so I got in a bit of a muddle! Interesting, but not for me I think.

    23. I loved Cold Comfort farm and was surprised that it took me several chapters to 'get into' this book. From then on, I thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful mix of characters and the contrasts and interactions between them. It was fascinating to be shown the characters through the eyes of the author as well as through those of the other characters, from the varying social mix in the book. The 'creepy' aspect of the story was scarey and convincing!

    24. Stella Gibbons wrote more than Cold Comfort Farm? Who knew? I am now on a quest to read everything she ever wrote - she's that good. If Jane Austen were alive, she'd have approved of this one, the story of two elderly spinsters living in poverty, their eccentric neighbor, and the "rackman," their landlord, who gives off a distinct evil vibe.

    25. I found this rather chilling, but wonderful. It's a very odd book and a far cry from Cold Comfort Farm but Stella Gibbons cannot go wrong for me.I'd love to get hold of a copy (I got it out of the library) but it appears to be changing hands in hardback for around £100 now!

    26. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish off this book, which is the best compliment you can give a book. Full review later!

    27. This was a re-read. This is a very strange book in its genre-blending, except that it doesn't treat what it's doing as genre but as all part of the same story. But Gibbons can do this.

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