... intelligence, originality and poetic grace ... Ms. Cook reflects on the momentous change by tenderly humanizing all of these larger-than-life characters. Her portrayal of Bathsheba is both more compassionate and more convincing than the usual caricature of a power-hungry seductress. Her David, too, is remarkably approachable ... Again and again in this discerning novel, sin and suffering culminate in a majestic work of humility and praise.
Cook writes beautiful and complicated prose, befitting of the subjects she chooses ... Informed by the Judeo-Christian spiritual tradition without being subject to it, here is the rare book that functions on multiple levels, inspiring new ideas and insights with each re-reading ... The most powerful chapters of Lux are those spent with women ... Cook plucks these hollowed-out characters from Samuel and imbues them with souls. She circles the Bible story of David and Bathsheba, plumbs its depths and breathes life into it, creating the type of mannered, academic leaning novel that the English seem to adore ... But press down firmly on the cover and the words, regardless of how beautiful they are, will flow out its sides like water from a sponge.
... a kind of meditative triptych rooted in the tale of David and Bathsheba. The story has everything a novelist could wish for in its themes of power, lust, love, faith and conscience ... Primarily a poet, Cook writes with impressive empathy for David. There is both a painterly eye and a physicality about her prose.
... a tome, largely to its detriment. We are told the story of David and Bathsheba in several ways, told it to near-exhaustion: we see it in its context, we see it through tapestries, actors, imagination — with little alteration or contradiction. The first two-thirds of the book is — after a fashion — backstory ... It’s not that the parallels between David’s world and Wyatt’s fail to cohere, but the imbalance and flatness of the David section serves ultimately as occlusion rather than expansion ... Another frustration for the reader comes from the fact that, on the whole, the events that punctuate both the David and Wyatt narratives mostly occur elsewhere and are mentioned in passing or retrospect...This method can lead to awkwardness in the narrative, as well as to reiteration ... This grumbling is largely to do with the fact that there is much to admire here, beneath all the brocades, especially in the founding ideas from which Cook is somewhat corseted by her own narrative maneuverings. The precariousness of being prey to larger, unreasoning forces, to the dangers of being singled out as exceptional in an environment in which conformity is a matter of survival, is compellingly handled, while the mostly implicit question as to why anyone would want a king at all acts as a subversive, sorrowful shadow narrative.
The Old Testament, whilst the foundation of three of the fundamental world faiths, is largely incomprehensible to me because I read it in the same way I read mythology, be it Greek, Roman or ones not as well known to me ... Although intelligently written I, personally, found Lux a tediously slow novel with far too much character introspection with little character interaction. Any action is mainly seen at third hand. Other readers may well disagree.