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Girl in the Dark

by Anna Lyndsey

Why we love it:

I felt absolutely heartbroken reading this memoir; it’s so deeply sad at times but uplifting and hopeful at others. Anna Lyndsey’s novel is a series of vignettes from her life, pre- and post-darkness. Her transition from a desk jockey for the government, to a hostage to her own photophobia, is an emotional roller coaster. She journeys from the depths of despair to elation at the tiniest sign of progress. But even with her heartbreaking illness, Anna is able to find bright spots through her relationship, immersion in audiobooks, and even the funny side of dressing like a madwoman to survive journeys into the outside world.

This is a heart wrenching memoir, as well as a story full of hope, love and living life to its fullest. It reminded me a little of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. Where he was trapped mentally in a space, Anna Lyndsey is trapped physically. Reading it left me with a feeling of gratefulness for the life I have.

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.

About Anna Lyndsey

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.


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