This hauntingly romantic story marks the auspicious debut of a young novelist Lawrence Durrell calls “a born writer.” Shadows and Light precisely, poignantly anatomizes the nature of erotic obsession, as a gifted, independent artist falls into sensual thrall to a sophisticated, worldly and ultimately elusive lover. Allegra Clayton is unconventionally beautiful, sensitive, yet sexually unawakened, an art expert at Sotheby’s and a promising painter in her own right. Hers is the refined, protected world of afternoon teas, solitary creativity and glittering evenings with international society.
Yet from the moment she encounters Alexander Para — formidably charming, finally enigmatic — Allegra finds herself caught in an erotic compulsion that gradually erodes her confidence, her independence, her very sense of self. Moving from New York to Venice, from the slopes of St. Moritz and the bleached beaches of Crete to an inevitable moment of unmasking and painful self-revelation, this remarkable novel explores the shadows and light of sex, of love and friendship, of seduction and betrayal.