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Andrew O’Hagan’s The Illuminations captures the beauty and harshness of modern life

This perceptive novel moves between Scotland and Afghanistan

By Francine Prose   February 2015

A US Marine passes through an Afghan poppy field


The Illuminations, by Andrew O’Hagan (Faber & Faber, £17.99)

Early in Andrew O’Hagan’s fifth novel, The Illuminations, a woman named Maureen is studying a photograph of her neighbour’s long-deceased husband. Both women live in an assisted living housing complex in Scotland. The elderly residents of Saltcoats have their own separate flats, but know that once they can no longer use a kettle, they will be moved to a nursing home. Maureen’s neighbour,…

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