Danica wanted a better life. She wanted the perfect relationship. She wanted comfort and intimacy. What she got was Patrick. Can she afford to pay his price for the kind of life he offers?
Scott wanted a quiet and unassuming life. He wanted to forget about his past. He wanted to go to work and avoid excitement or the extraordinary. What he got was his quiet life ripped away with the screech of a tire, and the breaking of glass.
Dreaming with the Lights On tells the story of the choices these two strangers make, and their actions when faced with unexpected situations. This heartbreaking tale is told in two parts, weaving the stories of Danica and Scott together, as they navigate the worlds they never thought they would be in.
Danica’s is an all too real world, in which she is in love with a dangerous man. Scott’s is a surreal world headed for disaster, as he tries to decide who are the angels and who are the demons, before they destroy everything in his known existence. Journey from Danica’s reality as a nurse in a long term care facility to Scott’s wasteland of a purgatory.
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This is a debut novel from Canadian author, Chris Pilkington. Reviewers are praising the depth of the characters and the quality of the pacing, especially towards the end of the novel as the two stories meld together in a unique way.
Check out the Goodreads review
Take a chance on someone new: join Danica and Scott as they fight for their lives and souls!
“I don’t read a lot by indie authors but this book was well worth the detour. I am not going to pretend that I know the first thing about writing a review, I just noticed that no one else had and thought I would encourage you to support a new writer if you were thinking about picking this up.
The best compliment I can make is that I stayed up late to finish it. Someone with more literary knowledge might be able to critique the prose but under any of that there is a good story that made me want to keep reading.
I don’t want to give any spoilers but it isn’t one of those books where everything gets tied up with a neat little ribbon. Maybe you will guess some of the plot twists but I don’t think you will finish It feeling like you knew how it would end. The characters were developed enough that I cared about what happened to them.”
“If you like Canadian literary fiction that doesn’t always play by the rules, I strongly encourage you to give Dreaming with the Lights on a chance. If you like discovering new authors, definitely check out this debut.
I received an advanced copy to read. I liked it very much: the author essentially told two different stories that followed the same character arc. For me, one of the strengths of the novel lies in three of its central characters, Danica, Scott and Vincent. Even when I didn’t like what they were doing, I was rooting for them to find their best selves, and hoping that things would go their way. In my mind they became real people, not simply characters.
The treatment of Danica at the hands of her abusive partner was done in a sensitive way with rich metaphors that allowed the reader to fill in much of what wasn’t written. The author knew his subject matter was disturbing and took pains to tell Danica’s story without resorting to anything gratuitous or shocking.
In the end, the author leaves the reader hope for his characters, and that is what I liked the best about the novel. Wanting to see where these characters would end up, and hoping it was good is what kept me reading. I was not disappointed.
Chris Pilkington has a unique and varied set of experiences from which to draw inspiration. He was homeless and on the streets of Toronto during his teen years. Many of his characters draw strength and depth from his experiences trying to survive in an unforgiving world. His early twenties were spent in a drug-fuelled haze. His cynical and bleak voice come out of those experiences, as well as the struggle to get clean.
He spent the next ten years as a broadcaster, travelling around Canada writing and producing material for radio and television. It was a time of fun and wonder, as new experiences and varied people popped in and out of his life.
For the last 8 years, he has worked with at risk and challenged youth as a Child and Youth Worker. This is where the hope and optimism in his writing comes from. All of this leads to three-dimensional characters that can and do overcome challenges and bleak situations.