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The Alphabet of Light and Dark Paperback – 8 Jan 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (8 Jan. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 174114065X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741140651
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,744,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"'Absorbing, subtle, impressive writing.' Debra Adelaide 'Wood's writing is sinewy, physical and elemental.' Liam Davison"

About the Author

Danielle Wood was born in Hobart in 1972. Danielle has an arts degree (with honours) from the University of Tasmania, and is completing a PhD through Edith Cowan University. She has worked as a journalist with newspapers in Hobart and Perth, as a producer with ABC Radio in Perth and Broome, and as a media officer for Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service. Highlights of her career include sailing on the tall ship Eye of the Wind and travelling to Macquarie Island with ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions). She lives in Hobart and The Alphabet of Light and Dark is her first novel.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Cape Bruny Lighthouse, at the southern tip of Bruny Island off the south-east coast of Tasmania is the setting for Ms Wood’s novel. The main character, Essie Lewis, is an oceanographer and aspiring author who goes to Cape Bruny both to research her family’s past and to try to find meaning in her own life. In the novel, in italics, we read fragments of the book Essie is writing. Written as a first-hand contemporary account, Essie writes of her great-great grandfather’s experiences on Bruny Island in the late 1800s. Her account captures this period, with the hardships endured by lighthouse families, the isolation from others and the difficult physical environment.

‘Essie remembers that in stories it is often the silent who end up with the task of the telling.’

The current caretaker of the lighthouse is Pete Shelverton, hunter of feral cats and part-time sculptor. As children, Essie and Peter knew each other briefly, as adults they recognize each other as kindred spirits. The past holds a fascination for Essie, but what of the present, and the future? And what about Peter?

‘She knows the things that the light can’t see, the things beneath the surface that pull and suck.’

I enjoyed the setting for this novel: lighthouses have their own form of magic. While Ms Wood recreates life at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse during the nineteenth century through Essie’s writing, its significance in the twenty-first century is not lost. The light itself is automated now, but lives are still attracted by it and caught up within it. While the characters of Essie and Pete are interesting, I found myself more drawn to the past, to the constant presence and role of the lighthouse.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
‘Thirty-nine he was when he went to the lighthouse. Not a great age by any means, but he already had the look of an old man.’ 11 April 2015
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The Cape Bruny Lighthouse, at the southern tip of Bruny Island off the south-east coast of Tasmania is the setting for Ms Wood’s novel. The main character, Essie Lewis, is an oceanographer and aspiring author who goes to Cape Bruny both to research her family’s past and to try to find meaning in her own life. In the novel, in italics, we read fragments of the book Essie is writing. Written as a first-hand contemporary account, Essie writes of her great-great grandfather’s experiences on Bruny Island in the late 1800s. Her account captures this period, with the hardships endured by lighthouse families, the isolation from others and the difficult physical environment.

‘Essie remembers that in stories it is often the silent who end up with the task of the telling.’

The current caretaker of the lighthouse is Pete Shelverton, hunter of feral cats and part-time sculptor. As children, Essie and Peter knew each other briefly, as adults they recognize each other as kindred spirits. The past holds a fascination for Essie, but what of the present, and the future? And what about Peter?

‘She knows the things that the light can’t see, the things beneath the surface that pull and suck.’

I enjoyed the setting for this novel: lighthouses have their own form of magic. While Ms Wood recreates life at the Cape Bruny Lighthouse during the nineteenth century through Essie’s writing, its significance in the twenty-first century is not lost. The light itself is automated now, but lives are still attracted by it and caught up within it. While the characters of Essie and Pete are interesting, I found myself more drawn to the past, to the constant presence and role of the lighthouse.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
A must read! 1 Jan. 2014
By Jennifer Parsons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A brilliant read - incredible insight into people and what shapes them. I have recommended this book to many people.
beautiful book 28 May 2013
By Dorothy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Delightfully woven story with such evocative descriptions of Bruny Island it made me want to visit. A clever blend of historical events with the main character's fictional past and present.
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