24 comments on “Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie | Book Review

    • Thank you! I went in with very low expectations based on reviews I’d seen as well, but was very pleasantly surprised! It’s not perfect, but one of the most genuinely compelling books I’ve picked up for a while. I hope you enjoy it!

  1. Great review! It sounds like we had a lot of the same thoughts, the main difference being that you found the characters more compelling than I did. (I was more or less on board until Pam dropped out of the plot with no exploration of how she ended up choosing to live with her father given the way he was treating her. After that my issues with characterization and lack of commentary just kept piling up.) But I’m glad that you had a better time with it! I do think Goldie had some great intent with this one, though it ultimately missed the mark for me. Perhaps my unfamiliarity with the Grenfell disaster was also detrimental- I didn’t even see that Goldie was trying to say anything about the poor response to the Nightingale Point disaster until I got to the afterword, and your comparison of the two makes it clearer that I missed something there. I had 9/11 in mind instead, which of course isn’t quite the same sort of story so never would have made a good comparison point.

    • She definitely could (and should) have pushed that thread further to make it more apparent. It could have been a phenomenal book if she’d better capitalised on the vast thematic potential (hence why I totally understand being frustrated by it overall). In that respect, it’s certainly not the most successful book on the literary front, but when comparing it to most of the other WP reads, this is one of very few that I genuinely cared about plot and character-wise.

      • I completely agree. And I think I’ve been a little generous with a couple of my longlist ratings as well (Dominicana, The Dutch House…) just because they seemed MARGINALLY better than the rest of the list… what a year for the WP. I am very glad that someone managed to get a positive experience with this one, at least!

        • I’ve definitely also been more generous with star ratings for WP reads I’ve actually liked this year. Unfortunately I thought this one was terrible! (I must have missed anything it said about the Grenfell fallout – it seemed pretty apolitical to me).

          • There were a few brief nods towards it through mentions of rehousing struggles, media attention, waning public sympathy, etc., but she should have pushed it a lot further, especially since she flagged it up as an inspiration in the author’s note.

            I didn’t find it terrible by any stretch, but I certainly recognise its flaws. At this point with the WP list, I was just grateful to feel interested in the plot and characters.

            Just 4 left to go; at least I’m on the homestretch!

            • Yes, and I guess the problem also was that although the Amsterdam air disaster and Grenfell both seem to have been badly mishandled, they’re also two very different events with different contexts.

              Good work, you can do it!

          • In my copy there was one quick mention of Grenfall in the author’s note at the end of the book- without that I would have missed it entirely, and even upon discovering the connection I couldn’t see that the author made much use of it.

  2. Great review! I’ve heard such mixed reviews of this one that I don’t know what to expect now. And you’re right, half of what I’ve read so far has been underwhelming and it makes me want to pull up my ratings for the ones I did like.

    • Thank you! It’s far from perfect, and I can see why it doesn’t work for some people, but thankfully I was able to just take this one for what it is and enjoy it at face value.

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      • I’ve seen mixed reviews too but yours has definitely tempted me. Do you think knowing more about Grenfell previously made a difference in your reading?

        • The book doesn’t lean into anything too political, but it was impossible not to draw parallels when the Grenfell disaster is still such a huge part of public consciousness in the UK. It’s possible knowing about it helped me feel emotionally connected to the characters in this, but it’s definitely not necessary to be able to read the novel.

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