Global temperatures are rising. The climate of the Abrams’ marriage is cooling. Emma is beginning to wonder whether relationships, like mortgages, should be conducted in five-year increments.
She might laugh if Chris had bought a motorbike or started dyeing his hair. Instead he’s buying off-label medicines and stockpiling food. Chris finds Emma’s relentless optimism exasperating.
A tot of dread, a nip of horror, a shot of anger – he isn’t asking much. If she would only join him in a measure of something. The family’s precarious eco-system is further disrupted by torrential rains, power cuts and the unexpected arrival of Chris’s mother.
Emma longs to lower a rope and winch Chris from the pit of his worries. But he doesn’t want to be rescued or reassured – he wants to pull her in after him. Darkly funny and beautifully written, When the Lights Go Out is a novel for our times: a story about cultivating hope and weathering change.
‘With characteristic wit and humanity, Bray shows us the necessity and the impossibility of preparing for disaster, and reminds us of both the fragility and capacity of love.’ Jenn Ashworth.