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Lou Connor, a gifted, unhappy 16-year-old, is desperate to escape her life of poverty in Sydney. And when she is offered a place in an exchange student program at an American college, it seems as if her dreams are going to be fulfilled. Her host family, the Hardings, have a large and beautiful house in Illinois and couldn’t be more welcoming. Everything is perfect. Until she starts feeling suffocated by the repressive atmosphere of the Harding’s suburban mansion...
How the Light Gets In is an acutely observed story of adolescence and one that evokes American Beauty in its dissection of ingrained prejudices and middle-class hypocrisy. And in Lou Connor, M.J. Hyland has created a larger-than-life protagonist who mesmerizes the reader with her vivacity and vulnerability, from hopeful beginning to unexpected, haunting end.
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M. J. HYLAND was born in London in 1968 to Irish parents and spent her early childhood in Dublin. She studied law and English at the University of Melbourne and worked for several years as a lawyer. Her first novel, How the Light Gets In, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (Eurasia Region) and for The Age Book of the Year in Australia and, in 2004, she was named Young Australian Writer of the Year.How the Light Gets In also took third place in the 2004 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for fiction. M. J. Hyland lives in London, England.From Booklist:
Sixteen-year-old Australian exchange student Louise (Lou) is ecstatic that she has left behind her rough family, who mock her for using big words, and their tiny flat choked with cigarette smoke. Placed in a wealthy Chicago suburb, in a pristine McMansion with the Harding family, Lou is stunned by the glossy perfection: "There are so many healthy, good-looking teenagers that a few crooked teeth, or short, fat fingers, suddenly take on the proportions of deformities." The Hardings are earnest and warm, but Lou's high-strung insecurity and wary independence begin to widen the cracks in her host family's strained domesticity, particularly when Lou turns increasingly to booze and drugs. Hyland's debut loses momentum as it drifts to its open ending. But Lou's furious, first-person voice is filled with piercing observations that beautifully balance Lou's teenage detachment and aching, intelligence and self-absorption, yearning and recklessness. And like Holden Caulfield, with whom she invites inevitable comparison, Lou is unmerciful toward those satisfied with easy answers: "What kind of a moron thinks there's a rational explanation for human behavior?" Gillian Engberg
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110002005778
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0002005778