Lily’s epilepsy means she’s used to seeing the world in terms of angles – you look at every surface, you weigh up every corner, and you think of you head slamming into it – but what would she be like without her sharp edges? Prickly, spiky, up-front-honest and down-to-earth practical, Lily is thirty, and life’s not easy but she gets by. She’s learned to make do, to make the most of things, to look after – and out for – herself. Needing no one and asking for nothing. Just her and her epilepsy: her constant companion. But then her mother – who Lily’s not seen for years – dies, and Lily is drawn back into a world she thought she’d long since left behind.
Electricity is Lily’s story; told in fits and starts, it’s an edgy, compelling novel and a distinctive debut.
Praise for Electricity
“Ray Robinson’s Electricity is a thorny, uncompromising novel, with attitude. It is also – thanks to Lily O’Connor, its sharp-edged, hard-living, tough-talking narrator – mesmerising, uplifting and unexpectedly tender” Jim Crace
“Lily O’Connor is one of the most convincingly alluring characters in contemporary fiction. Robinson tells her harrowing story through a highly-charged vernacular that crackles with a skewed and peculiar poetry. Electricity is an extraordinary feat of linguistic ventriloquism; touching, beautiful, and compelling. I’ll never forget it” Niall Griffiths
‘An energetic debut… bristling with talent’ The Times
‘An eviscerating debut novel… Its fast, furious plot, kaleidoscopic imagery, blunt observations, and a wry, ingenuous, hugely compassionate heroine make it a breath taking assault on the senses’ Guardian
‘Misanthropic, original and highly entertaining’ Independent on Sunday
‘Robinson’s startling debut takes us deep into Lily’s flawed, combative world. Robinson’s prose it taut, and Lily an unnerving frank narrator’ Time Out
“One of the fiction highlights of 2006” – Independent
“Like many of her female literary forebears, Lily vacillates between determinist surrender and wilful protest. In doing so, she wins the reader over” – New Statesman
“A welcome addition to the burgeoning field of the literature of psychopathology, and deserves to be widely read… a quest, narrated in Lily’s engagingly unsentimental voice, which balances the purging of her abused childhood against unglamorous adventures among the lost souls of the metropolis… Electricity is a powerful, passionate and informative book” – TLS
‘Not since the first line of Camus’ The Outsider has a mother being so brusquely despatched. Never before have the vertices of epilepsy being so convincingly captured in a narrator’s voice or the odd geometry of a sufferer’s life made so clear… This is a novel about that devalued concept ’empowerment’, about a woman who is in every regard a passive object but who, by dint of submission to overwhelming currents of love, loyalty, self-reliance, a need to say the unsayable, manages to rise above circumstances in the most heartlifting way. It’s a genuinely remarkable debut’ – Scotland on Sunday