How the Light Gets in

Front Cover
Canongate, 2003 - Adolescence - 329 pages
7 Reviews
A powerful debut from an Australian novelist that features one of the most likeable but contrary figures you are likely to meet in contemporary fiction.Lou Connor, a gifted, unhappy sixteen-year-old, is desperate to escape her life of poverty in Sydney. When she is offered an exchange student placement at a school in America it seems as if her dreams will be fulfilled. Her host family has a beautiful house in Illinois and couldn't be more welcoming . . . until she starts to be distubed by the suffocating and repressed atmosphere of their suburban mansion and things begin to go terribly wrong.How the Light Gets In is an acutely observed story of adolescence, reminiscent of American Beauty in its dissection of engrained prejudices and middle-class hypocrisy. In Lou Connor, Hyland has created a larger-than-life protagonist who mesmerises the reader with her vivacity and vulnerability, from hopeful beginning to unexpected, haunting end.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cecilturtle - LibraryThing

Lou is a decidedly unlikable character: self-centered, disrespectful, unaware and withdrawn. In other words, she is a typical teenager, seeing life through her narrow lens and unable to open her eyes ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jayne_charles - LibraryThing

This was very readable in terms of the writing style, and the theme was interesting enough – a gifted Australian teenager from a deprived background travels to Chicago to live with a family on some ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

M.J Hyland is an ex-lawyer and the author of three multi-award-winning novels: How the Light Gets In (2004), Carry Me Down (2006) and This is How (2009). Carry Me Down (2006) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won both the Hawthornden Prize and the Encore Prize. M.J Hyland has twice been longlisted for the Orange Prize (2004 and 2009), the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (2004 and 2007) and This is How (2009) was also longlisted for the Dublin International IMPAC prize.M.J Hyland is also a lecturer in Creative Writing in the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester where she runs fiction workshops, alongside Martin Amis (2007-2010), Colm T ib n (2010-2011) and Jeanette Winterson (2013 - ). M.J Hyland also runs regular Fiction Masterclasses in the Guardian Masterclass Programme, and has twice been shortlisted for the BBC Short Story Prize (2011 and 2012). She also publishes in the Guardian 'How to Write' series, and has written nonfiction for the Financial Times, Granta, the New Yorker and elsewhere. M.J Hyland is also co-founder of the Hyland & Byrne Editing Firm (see - www.editingfirm & www.mjhyland.com)

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