"An astonishing memoir" Sonali Deraniyagala, author of WaveBOOK OF THE WEEK ON BBC RADIO 4'Oh, what can I not do, in my dreams. In my dreams I travel on trains and climb mountains, I play concerts and swim rivers, I carry important documents on vital missions, I attend meetings which become song-and-dance routines. My body lies boxed in darkness, but beneath my closed eyelids there is colour, sound and movement, in glorious contrast to the day; mad movies projected nightly in the private theatre of my skull.' Anna Lyndsey was living a normal life. She enjoyed her job; she was ambitious; she was falling in love. Then the unthinkable happened.It began with a burning sensation on her face when she was exposed to computer screens and fluorescent lighting. Then the burning spread and the problematic light sources proliferated. Now her extreme sensitivity to light in all forms means she must spend much of her life in total darkness. During the best times, she can venture cautiously outside at dusk and dawn, avoiding high-strength streetlamps. During the worst, she must spend months in a darkened room, listening to audiobooks, inventing word-games and fighting to keep despair at bay.
Told with great beauty, humour and honesty, Girl in the Dark is the astonishing and uplifting account of Anna's descent into the depths of her extraordinary illness. It is the story of how, through her determination to make her impossible life possible and with the love of those around her, she has managed to find light in even the darkest of places.
Anna Lyndsey worked for several years in London as a civil servant until she became ill.
She now lives with her husband in Hampshire. Anna is writing under a pen name.
In this astonishing memoir Anna Lyndsey takes us into the world of a rare and shocking illness, and we emerge awed by a shining love story. Anna writes with such honesty and grace and mischief about how her condition forces her to retreat into blackness - yet we see that this new space she so bravely creates for herself is suffused with light
Sonali Deraniyagala, author of Wave, winner of the PEN/Ackerly Prize and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
The premise of Girl in the Dark seems lifted out of a Gothic novel: A woman whose flesh is burned by light is confined to a dark box of a room. But this story, self-excoriating in its honesty and brimming with insight into the human condition and the inner life of a chronically ill person, is so much more than a medical mystery or a nightmarishly true tale. I read this book, a memoir that reads like an epic poem, pen in hand, feverishly underlining sentence after sentence. Yes, life is suffering, but in the end, as Anna Lyndsey so aptly puts it, 'Words are wonderful.' This book is a gift, a testament to the power of art as a saving grace
Susannah Cahalan, author of the New York Times-bestselling Brain on Fire
In her keenly observed book of life without light, she takes us with her through every challenge
Bizarre and gripping … It's honesty, bravery and touches of black comedy will be a help to anyone suffering from a chronic illness, as well as to those who - at least for now - are spared. This book about darkness shines with lucid writing and flashes of bold imagination
The miracle is not that she has written about the experience, although that would be remarkable enough … What is so surprising is that this is a tremendous book, beautifully written and full of hard-won hope and unexpected humour. It isn't a misery memoir, nor a self-help guide. It's a little masterpiece … By the close of the book, you feel as if you've made a wonderful new friend. Anna Lyndsey is one of those special people of whom it could be said that she'd rather light a candle than curse the darkness; except, of course, she can't do that. Instead, she's written a luminous account that celebrates everything that is best about being human. This book is that candle
Mail on Sunday
With black humour, she describes her strategies for living as full a life as possible without becoming an emotional basket-case … In the dying of the light, there is rage but also laughter, love and the hope of progress
But this is not just a survival tale, it's also something of a love story. Lyndsey lives with her long-term partner, Pete. Their touching relationship provides some much-needed hope
Remarkable … Her writing remains buoyantly entertaining, her style dry and unself-pitying … Her observations about nature, colour, texture and sound - as well as the darkness and her own plight - are recorded with great acuity, as if her isolation has amplified everything … The bad news for her is that she remains ill; she is apparently starting a novel. Still, if it's anything as good as this, that's good news for the rest of us
Astonishing … Anna writes about all of this with ferocious honesty … She can even be grimly funny
An extraordinary memoir of horror, endurance, resourcefulness and despair. It is also a love story - because without her boyfriend (now husband) Pete, it is impossible to see how Lyndsey would have survived … Girl in the Dark is beautifully written. The author's intelligence shines on every page, and her will to survive (despite those black thoughts in her dark room) is inspiring
Girl in the Dark is a stunning debut from Anna Lyndsey about an unimaginably horrible disease
Lyndsey prises open all these emotions with effortless, matter-of-fact clarity, without ever letting Girl in the Dark trip over into misery memoir territory. In fact, her chronicle of a life without light somehow sparkles with dark humour and wonder at the world … Beautifully affecting'