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The Last Candles of the Night

The Last Candles of the Night is an excellent novel by Ian Bedford. It is a moving and lyric tale of unpredictable love progress, memory pitfalls, and the profound allegiance costs. Besides, a love triangle develops in the novel as particular events sweep them up. Ian’s story contains the tale of a recall hence creating a unique and troubling memory ecology. The novel’s memory scenes are not successive, bearing in mind that one thing leads to another. The novel has many flashbacks making it easier for individuals to understand what happened earlier. In this case, the essay aims to analyze the silence between Philip and his family in 2001, as well as the silence between Ragini, Philip, and Anand.

In 2001, Philip returned to Australia after a lifetime experience in India. For all that time, Philip never communicated with his family, including his wife, Jenny, until 2001. In this case, he returned seeking to re-unite links with his estranged wife, whom he had married fifty years earlier in India. Moreover, everything was new to him whereby the author states, “But wasn’t Philip meeting the whole family? – as if a new?” (Bedford, p. 4. 2014). Philip had stayed silent while in India, and there is nowhere the novel reveals he called the family to learn what was happening. Again, the author states that Philip had never looked back, bearing in mind that he had taken all “prized posts in education.” He had also found a school of his own in the 60s. Philip was a senior Indian government advisory. However, he had never celebrated these achievements with his family. The author states that “These achievements of being a foreigner in India were all he wanted to talk about, but the heavens forbade, not to Jenny” (Bedford, p. 5. 2014). In this case, he kept silent about his achievements because his daughter had died, and he was not there to comfort his family, whereby Nora blamed him for it as he achieved all this.

In addition, Philip is also silent about his relationship with Ragini. She was a young revolutionary he had fallen in love with within 1948. Ian states that Philip was ashamed mainly because of his error in declining to speak about her (Bedford, p. 9. 2014). Ragini had done nothing wrong, but Philip went silent about her existence. Significantly, she could not get out of his head. Similarly, there was silence between Philip and Anand. Anand and Philip were great friends, but “family was quite another thing” (Bedford, p. 29. 2014). Anand could not receive Philip as a guest in Marathwada because he never wanted him to meet his father and also did not want him to meet his unmarried sister. In this case, Anand went silent about his family relationships though they were best friends. The love triangle of these people eventually comes to an end as Philip goes back home to make some sense of his past.

In conclusion, The Last Candles of the Night is an insightful book by Ian Bedford covering major secrets and silence between characters. Philip abandoned his family for many years and did not even know what had killed his daughter, whereby his other daughter Nora reprimands his coming back home. Nonetheless, Philip had many achievements in India that he did not want to expose to his family, particularly his wife. Philip also went silent about his other love life with Ragini, which should not have been the case. In addition, Anand went silent about his family matters, and never did he want Philip to meet his father or the unmarried sister.


Bedford, I. (2014). The Last Candles of the Night. Lacuna Publishing.


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