Paul Dalgarno – A Country of Eternal Light

Paul Dalgarno – A Country of Eternal Light


An astonishingly inventive, playful, funny, poignant and deeply moving novel from one of Australia’s most exciting new literary voices.

Margaret Bryce, deceased mother of twins, has been having a hard time since dying in 2014. These days – they’re not exactly days – she visits her daughter Eva in Madrid, her daughter Rachel’s family in Melbourne and her estranged husband Henry in Aberdeen. Mostly she enjoys the experience of revisiting the past, but she’s tiring of the seemingly random events to which she repeatedly bears witness. There must be something more to life, surely, she thinks? And death?

Spanning more than seventy-five years, from 1945 to 2021, we join Margaret as she flits from wartime Germany to Thatcher’s Britain to modern-day Scotland, Australia and Spain, ruminating on everything from the Piper Alpha Oil Rig disaster to Australia’s Black Summer bushfires, from the Covid pandemic to Mary Queen of Scots’ beheading, from the death of Princess Diana to in-vitro fertilisation.

But why is facing up to what’s happened in one’s past as hard, if not harder, than blocking it out completely? A playful, bitingly funny, poignant and deeply moving novel about complicated grief and how we remain wanted by our loved ones, dead or alive.