Cover Image: The Lightness

The Lightness

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Member Reviews

This is definitely one for fans of Emma Cline and Julie Buntin. The writing is absolutely beautiful: it's vivid and fresh with some excellent descriptions of female angst and the danger of power without knowledge. The only misgiving I had about the novel was the familiar clique aspect. It has been done so many times and I felt the skill of the writer could have been displayed with a more original plotline. That being said, I'll definitely read Temple's next book.
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Fairly trippy and psychedelic tale of a girl looking for her dad, within a meditation centre. Reminiscent of The Bell Jar, this is a very slow read but if into atmospheric and tense stories then will please very much.
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this novel really resonated with my interest in spiritual practices, self-awareness and relationship dynamics, with a suspenseful twist. beautiful language with a unique writing style.
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This book was absolutely beautifully written. I adored the writing style, the mix of dictionary definitions and throwaway language was such an unusual juxtaposition. I loved the writing.

The plot, however, about a group of teenage girls at a Buddhist retreat who want to learn to levitate just didn’t quite do it for me. I love a “girls gone bad” story, I love a secret society - especially one for women set at an institution, I love a book which hints at tragedy. But I couldn’t connect with the characters and I didn’t feel completely absorbed in the plot. I’ve read a lot of books similar to this theme which I’ve really enjoyed but the plot here just wasn’t engaging enough for me.

I’d give this somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. The wonderful writing saved it from being enjoyable and that makes me excited to read whatever Emily Temple writes next!
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Thank you to Netgalley, Harper Collins and Emily Temple for this e-copy in return for my honest review. Fresh interesting concept, filled with teenage angst. I found the writing both clever and dark, the story was engrossing.
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Actual rating 4.5/5 stars.

Olivia has left her mother and the secrets they share at home. Following in her father's disappearing footsteps, she journeys to the Levitation Center, a meditation retreat that hosts troubled girls from across the globe every Summer. This was the last known location of her father and she hopes to find where he ventured from here.

Olivia is not one of the camp's 'bad girls', yet she might long to be. As she looks for what she knows she is missing, she finds she is lacking far more than she ever previously admitted to herself. And more than fathers can be found and gained in such a place as this, especially when the mysterious trio of girls who linger at the camp's peripheries shift to make room for one other.

I adore books that feature the intricacies and toxicity of certain close-knit teenage friendship groups, such as this one. The heightened emotions, the unreliability of character, and the ensuing drama all suck me in as assuredly as it does the new girl who enters their midst. There is something whimsical and innocent as well as feral and viscous about their thoughts and deeds, and I can not get enough of them!

Here, these wild girls become preoccupied with certain aspects of the Buddhist religion and spend their hours of moonlight pushing themselves, and each other, to the brink of human possibility. This is all in aid of the greatness they know lurks within, and a banishment of the average they deem lurks around them.

The dream-like quality infused in each lyrical line and the heady atmosphere that coated all action it depicted combined to make this an evocative and haunting piece. This was part Girls on Fire and part The Furies, with the essence of The Girls and the ambience of The Secret History sprinkled throughout.
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Olivia's father had always been obsessed with meditation and Buddhism which led to him becoming further away from his family but when he disappeared Olivia was devastated.  One year later Olivia decides to follow him to a retreat high in the mountains for a summer camp.
This book sounded good on paper but I gave up a quarter through.  The story seemed to be going nowhere, I didn't connect with the characters and so I was not engaged.
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This a fresh read and new read. Emily Temple really makes her characters believable and they come alive in her novel.
Without giving too much of the plot away, Olivia's Dad who quite often disappears on retreats but always returns home, suddenly doesn't return home after his last trip. 
Olivia manages to find a place at the place where her dad was last seen - a buddhist camp - Olivia joins numerous girls at the summer camp - and integrates herself into a group of adolescents who all seek to levitate which is a challenge in itself.

Temple's work at times is dark but thoroughly gripping and I look forward to reading more of her work.
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Interesting, but not as good as I had hoped. It has a lot of very interesting elements: buddhism, peer pressure, friendship between  girls, and it is exciting as well, but still I found it lacking something. Maybe I compared it too much to 'Bunny' by Mona Awad (also about a group of girls pushing each other to do things theý would rather not do), which I loved and found so funy. So not bad, but this one just wasn;t for me.
Thak you The Borough Press and Netgalley for the Arc.
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I was so curious about The Lightness as soon as I heard about it. The story follows Olivia, who arrives at a rehabilitation centre of sorts looking for her missing father who supposedly spent time there. The Levitation centre, which is isolated up in the mountains and surrounded by woodland operates within the principals of Buddhism. Olivia then becomes involved with a small clique of girls, Janet, Laurel and Serena who are on a secret mission to achieve levitation at any cost. Things become complicated and more and more dangerous as the book proceeds and Olivia tries to work out her feelings on love, lust, family and faith.

I really liked this book, it is quite strange and perhaps won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s a really interesting look at life and the different ways people choose to believe in some sort of higher power. I know very little about Buddhism so I found all the journeys into different aspects of it fascinating. The prose in The Lightness has a sort of otherworldly and ethereal quality to it which makes following the story feel natural and continually compelling. Olivia is an interesting character as she doesn’t seem to quite know who she is or what she is really looking for at The Levitation Centre. Her relationship with her father is an unusual one and he is a sort of ghostly figure all the way through the book. Her connection to the three girls is the one which drives the novel. Olivia becomes entranced in particular by Serena who is the sort of Queen Bee of the Centre. She is a powerful and captivating personality and pulls Olivia into her obsession with levitating.

There is a sense of unease from the start of The Lightness and the clique of girls often has a definite sinister feel to it which I found quite addictive. This is not a particularly easy book to explain because so much of it is based upon a kind of spirituality and atmosphere that surrounds these characters and the centre itself. The whole concept of levitation is so enthralling and I was holding my breath at times in anticipation as events progress to their strange crescendo. I really recommend The Lightness if you are in the mood for something a bit different and original. It is a wryly intelligent and mesmerising book which feels almost hypnotic at times – definitely worth reading as I think everyone will experience this book in a slightly different manner.
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Teenage angst mixed in with drama humor a book that drew me in.A story that kept me involved with the characters the story.#netgalley#harperuk
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Very intriguing read.
A story about searching to find ourselves and hoping we will find the missing pieces within our lives. 
How we can believe and search for a truth that can consume us and nearly destroy us.
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The Lightness by Emily Temple focuses on Olivia and her relationship with her parents and how that informs how she behaves with the new friends she makes.
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I like Temple's writing a lot: it's dynamic and fresh though she rather over does the intertexts and allusions which begin to feel a bit show-offy. However, despite the good stuff, this feels like a story I've read too many times before: the dangerous clique of adolescent girls is in danger of becoming a cliche of fiction, mingling issues of sex, power, innocence and death. Megan Abbot has exploited this material as has Emma Cline as well as numerous other books which are merging into one in my head. Temple's novel is now joining that morass. A more original storyline would have worked for me as the writing is stellar.
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Usually I would write a more detailed review that this but I don't want to do Emily Temple a disservice. I actually really like her articles or lists on LitHub (usually I would invoke death of the author but alas not today).
So here are a few words on why I do no plan of reading The Lightness:
If you enjoyed so called campus novels such as Bunny or Catherine House chances are you will like The Lightness (I hated those 'novels'). There is a 'clique', an unreliable narrator with a secret related to her past, a murder, foreshadowing....all the regular ingredients.
The style is intentionally recursive, the 'weirdness' seems calculated, there are plenty of swollen sentences....perhaps I was hoping for something more subversive or nuanced.
My opinion is based only on what I read ( 20% of the actual novel) so take my review with a pinch of salt.
The Lightness was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020. Suffice to say, I am disappointed.

ps: I would not recommend this to lovers of academia or Donna Tartt's The Secret History.
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