Released in 2004, Gail Jones' Sixty Lights tells the story of a woman named Lucy Strange. In the novel, she is growing up in Victorian Australia and England and is fascinated by new photographic technology, which she uses to take beautiful pictures and to touch the lives of all those around her. Lucy is a great character: energetic, compassionate, kind, talented, and visionary. While the world around her is marred by change, violence, and war, she is doing her best to live a good life by taking pictures and sharing her feelings about life.
Upon release, Sixty Lights was not widely reviewed or read. Susan Elderkin reviewed the book for The Guardian, writing: "A layered meditation on loss and grief and of finding joy in unexpected flashes, Sixty Lights is a passionate and somehow lonely book about the in-between parts of life - flawed, but then most novels worth reading are flawed. Recognition by the Booker judges is a fitting welcome for Gail Jones. Let's hope her publishers bring the backlist over too." The novel was also nominated (and won) a number of awards, including the Man Booker Prize (longlisted), Western Australian Premier's Book Awards (winner), and the Age Book of the Year (winner). Still, the novel is a solidly crafted.