While Emma Abram prepares for Christmas, her husband Chris frets about starvation and societal collapse.
Chris has turned off the heating. He treks his sons across the Moss in the drubbing rain. And he has other plans that, if voiced, Emma would surely veto.
Emma longs to rescue Chris from the pit of his worries. But he doesn't want to be rescued - he wants to pull her in after him.
If you believe your world is going to end, how do you live? And what if, while preparing for disaster, you unwittingly precipitate it?
This is a powerful and truthful story about hope and how to find it. Eschatology with rabbits and needlecraft. It’s intelligent, truly timely and subtly reassuring. - The Times
Carys Bray writes with a quiet formidable brilliance. Her observations on relationships are acute, painful and extremely funny. This is a gem of a book. - Emily Maitlis
It’s a fresh, topical perspective, told expertly by Bray. - The Sunday Times
Bray’s satire shines with observation and subtlety... Bray shows how the most well-regulated household – and the Abrams’ is hardly that – can still tremble on the brink of collapse. What message could be more timely than that? - The Guardian
When the Lights Go Out is a triumph. Richly metaphorical, impeccably dramatised, beautifully plotted, and so lifelike it seems to lift off the page, it is an epic family saga that takes place in the space of a few days, is set in an indeterminate future and a 1970s dormer bungalow, dramatises the worst of human selfishness and a love that - though evidenced by small, everyday actions - is soaring and truly heroic. It has voices: Milton, Shakespeare, Keats, Edgar Alan Poe, Dylan Thomas and the Bible. It has ghosts; of Eden, Job, the Flood and Judgement Day. It has Christmas carols, closing down notices, protest slogans and commandments written in stone. It takes place at a tangent to the world we currently inhabit and we wake from reading it as if from a dream. The dream is that the world is ending and we are in need of a miracle. The book is a small miracle itself. - Grace McCleen
It's bleak and it's laugh-out-loud funny, and just how Bray balances a book along that fine line is a wonderful skill. - Claire Fuller
In a literary landscape in which cultural and political "timeliness" too often trumps artistry, it is a relief to discover there are still novels being written that confront the great questions of the day with nuance, skill and artistry. - Irish Times
Bray has a knack of dealing with weighty themes with the lightest of touches. - Mail on Sunday
Superb on family dynamics. - The Daily Mail
When the Lights Go Out is warm, witty and well worth your time. - The Herald
A beautifully realised story of a family falling apart under the pressures of our age. - i Paper
A beautifully written, intimate novel about a marriage in crisis and a community on the brink, shot through with compassion and humour. Don't miss it. - The Bookseller
Absolutely superb. So timely, and so deeply human, a novel which takes us right into the heart of a marriage and at the same time grapples with the most crucial issue of our age. It's bursting with compassion and wisdom - I felt for these characters every step of the way. - Shelley Harris
When The Lights Go Out is a sharply observed, deftly told tale of rupture and repair. In it, with characteristic wit and humanity, Bray shows us the necessity and the impossibility of preparing for disaster, and reminds us of both the fragility and capacity of love. - Jenn Ashworth
When The Lights Go Out is exactly the novel we need in these times: it’s complex, nuanced, and compassionate, frightening and heartening. The writing is beautiful, the characters memorable, the story uncomfortably realistic and relatable. - Stephanie Butland
Carys Bray is extraordinarily skilled at creating characters who feel like they might live down the road from you. Through exquisite use of language and observation, she examines the intricacies of family life in ways which have you laughing one moment and biting your nails with worry the next. I have thought about this novel an incredible amount since I first read it and am sure it will bring great pleasure to both Bray's existing readership and to new readers who are bound to root for Emma, Chris and their family. - Sarah Franklin