Anne Quirk’s life is built on stories - the lies she was told by the man she loved and the fictions she told herself to survive. Nobody remembers Anne now, but in her youth she was an artistic pioneer, a creator of groundbreaking documentary photographs. Her beloved grandson Luke, a captain with the Royal Western Fusiliers in the British army, has inherited her habit of transforming reality. When his mission in Afghanistan goes horribly wrong, he returns to Scotland where the secrets that have shaped his family begin to emerge. He and Anne set out to confront a mystery from her past among the Blackpool Illuminations - the dazzling lights that brighten the seaside town as the season turns to winter.
The Illuminations, the fifth novel from Andrew O’Hagan, is a story of war, homecoming and families, showing there is no such thing as an ordinary life.