Genre: Fiction
Published: 1 April 2008
Publisher: Portobello Books

Shadowing the Sun

An evocative, subtle and disarming debut novel, SHADOWING THE SUN tells the story of a daughter’s troubled relationship with her absent, self-obsessed and unloving father, and the terrible consequences that ensue from his abdication of responsibility for her. He has abandoned bourgeois family life in England for a messianic guru role free of family ties (and free of so much else: inhibition, proscription, hierarchy, loyalty) on an idyllic Tuscan retreat. The novel opens with a 29-year-old Sylvie preparing to meet her father after 13 years apart. Disenchanted with her career as a photographer and with the steady, sure love she receives from fiancé Jack, she looks to her past to explain her inability to settle into grown-up life and love.

"SHADOWING THE SUN is a strong debut novel, unfolding its story from the complex relationship between a young girl, Sylvie, and her father, who has left the family to join a religious cult in Tuscany... Lily Dunn's novel has interesting things to say about family relationships, neglect and the self-harm that people expose themselves to. The childhood sequences are tender and painful... Dunn imbues the commune with an air of innocent menace, its inhabitants wallowing in their 'kooky' behaviour but unfeeling of its consequences" - Financial Times
"The sins of the father are mercilessly exposed in Lily Dunn's impressive, fluently written and confident first novel... The betrayal of the young Sylvie, teetering between innocence and knowledge, desperate to trust the one person who fails her, is brutal and shocking." - The Sunday Times
"A heart-rending account of a young girl's loss of innocence... told in beautiful, limpid prose, steeped in the prickly heat of a Tuscan summer and full of sharp observations about teenage misjudgement and adult folly... a story which should resonate with anyone who remembers the horrific hypersensitivity of adolescence and the dull ache of long-carried regrets" - Time Out
"The reader experiences with Sylvie the disorientation and fear of children whose guardians have abdicated responsibility for their care and whose permissiveness, taken to its limits, actually propels them into danger... the book combines the hippy parenting of Hideous Kinky with the central structure of Love Falls, a beautiful novel that, like Dunn's, not only explores a father and daughter in Tuscany, but also the vulnerability of teenage girls... Dunn has drawn the commune well, and its hypocrisies embody the least charming legacy of the Seventies." - The Observer
"The observations are acute, the characters well-drawn and the story engrossing... An atmospherically sinister story" - Metro
"If you're not one to shy away from difficult subject matter, you'll love this book" - Bella
"Moving and exquisitely detailed" - The Crack Magazine
"A vivid and meaningful portrait of innocence destroyed." - Big Issue