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Lighthouse, The (SALT MODERN FICTION) Paperback – 15 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: SALT PUBLISHING (15 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907773177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907773174
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 137,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Alison Moore is a novelist and short story writer. Her first novel, The Lighthouse, won the McKitterick Prize 2013 and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the National Book Awards 2012 (New Writer of the Year). Her second novel, He Wants, was published in August 2014. Her short stories have been published in Best British Short Stories anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra. The title story of her debut collection, The Pre-War House and Other Stories, won a novella prize and the collection was shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award 2014. She is published by Salt. Born in Manchester in 1971, she lives in a village on the Leicestershire-Nottinghamshire border. She is an honorary lecturer in the School of English at Nottingham University. www.alison-moore.com

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Review

A haunting and accomplished novel. -- Katy Guest The Independent on Sunday It is this accumulation of the quotidian, in prose as tight as Magnus Mills's, which lends Moore's book its standout nature, and brings the novel to its ambiguous, thrilling end. -- Philip Womack The Telegraph No surprise that this quietly startling novel won column inches when it landed on the Man Booker Prize longlist. After all, it's a slender debut released by a tiny independent publisher. Don't mistake The Lighthouse for an underdog, though. For starters, it's far too assured ... Though sparely told, the novel's simple-seeming narrative has the density of far longer work. People and places are intricately evoked with a forensic feel for mood. It's title becomes a recurring motif, from the Morse code torch flashes of Futh's boyhood to the lighthouse-shaped silver perfume case that he carries in his pocket, history filling the void left by its missing vial of scent. Warnings are emitted, too - by Futh's anxious aunt and an intense man he meets on the ferry. It all stokes a sense of ominousness that makes the denouement not a bit less shocking. -- Hephzibah Anderson The Daily Mail The writing is sublime. Spare, sometimes straightforward and sometimes quite opaque. But regardless of the overall transparency, the immediate images of the room or the street or the clifftop are crystal clear, conjured from very few but very well chosen words. The people, too, feel real. They have complex emotions and don't always do logical or sensible things, but they always convince. As they move around one another in still, empty spaces they create a dramatic tension that the reader can almost touch. We wish their lives could be better. Amazon.com This is powerful writing likely to shine in your memory for a long time. -- Emily Cleaver LITRO Magazine Evocative and beautifully written in a spare and simple prose, this is a haunting, sombre and somewhat unsettling story that pulls you in quietly, yet powerfully; I downloaded this onto my Kindle early this morning and read it from the beginning to the rather surprising end in one sitting. We know it is on the longlist for the Booker Prize; it deserves to make it onto the shortlist and I, for one, very much hope it does. Amazon.co.uk The Lighthouse is a stunning book. Read it. Then read it again. -- Zoe King Amazon.co.uk Alison Moore's writing is exquisite, the prose simple and powerful, but it's the use of imagery which really marks it out as something special. -- Sue Magee The Bookbag In The Lighthouse Alison Moore has created an unsettling, seemingly becalmed but oddly sensual, and entirely excellent novel. -- Alan Bowden Words of Mercury Alison Moore's debut novel has all the assurance of a veteran, a strong contender for the prize, its sense of despair will either be its making or its undoing: 9/10. -- Roz Davison Don't Read That Read This Ultimately,what drew me into this bleak tale of sorrow and abandonment was the quality of the writing - so taut and economical it even looked different on the page somehow - and so effective in creating a mounting sense of menace and unease. It never flinches. -- Isabel Costello On the literary sofa This is an incredibly powerful, sad story. A beautiful, if austere book. And an amazingly talented writer. If it is a first novel, I guess it will not be the last because this is the kind of writing that is here to stay... -- Josephine Huys Amazon.co.uk Moore's writing has a superb sense of the weight of memory. -- Kate Saunders The Times The Lighthouse is a spare, slim novel that explores grief and loss, the patterns in the way we are hurt and hurt others, and the childlike helplessness we feel as we suffer rejection and abandonment. It explores the central question about leaving and being left: even when it feels inevitable, why does it hurt so much, and why is this particular kind of numbness so repellent to others? The brutal ending continues to shock after several re-readings. -- Jenn Ashworth The Guardian The Lighthouse looks simple but isn't, refusing to unscramble what seems a bleak moral about the hazards of reproduction, in the widest sense. Small wonder that it stood up to the crash-testing of a prize jury's reading and rereading. One of the year's 12 best novels? I can believe it. -- Anthony Cummins The Observer The writing in The Lighthouse is spare and deceptively simple - there is in fact nothing simple about it - it is the kind of pared down writing that hides a multitude of complexities and leaves behind it an array of images and in this case scents. Upon closing this terribly bittersweet novel, the reader is assaulted by the memory of violets, camphor and cigarette smoke. There are several returning images and motifs in the novel, such as lighthouses, bathrooms, scents and abandonment which are beautifully explored. Heavenali.wordpress.com This is a book that might have vanished had it not been picked up by the Booker judges. It deserves to be read, and reread. No laughs, no levity, just a beautiful, sad, overripe tale that lingers in the mind. -- Isabel Berwick Financial Times What must have gone some way to earning The Lighthouse a place on the longlist, though, is the admirable simplicity of Moore's prose. Like Futh, its without flourishes, yet beneath its outward straightforwardness lies a hauntingly complex exploration of the recurring patterns that life inevitably follows, often as a consequence of one's past. -- Francesca Angelini The Sunday Times The Lighthouse, Alison Moore's melancholic debut, would eventually have found admiring readers through the great network of word of mouth. That it has been shortlisted, deservedly, for the Man Booker Prize will quicken the process. This is a beautiful short novel sustained by muted urgency, nuance and the exactness with which Moore conveys the paralysing levels of depression that Futh battles. In order to deal with the present he attempts to make sense of his past, which refuses to fade away. His thoughts throb with humiliating episodes from his boyhood, cut short when his bored, dissatisfied mother left, leaving his father to voice his anger at his only audience, the bewildered boy. -- Eileen Battersby The Irish Times A debut novel from a high-achieving independent publisher, The Lighthouse has surprised some observers with its place on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Disquieting, deceptive, crafted with a sly and measured expertise, Alison Moore's story could certainly deliver a masterclass in slow-burn storytelling to those splashier literary celebs who take more pains over a pyrotechnic paragraph than a watertight plot. -- Boyd Tonkin The Independent The originality, structure and neat prose of this first novel justify its shortlisting, but it doesn't do much to lift the soul. -- Kate Green Country Life I am almost reluctant to share anything about Alison Moore's The Lighthouse at this stage, because I don't want to spoil it in any way for others. The Lighthouse is a short novel of only 182 pages, but is - dare I say it - perfectly formed. This is a tense, suspenseful work, the plot ticking like a time bomb. -- Megan Dunn The Listener New Zealand "The Lighthouse," Alison Moore's debut novel, is sufficiently strange to win. The third-person narrator is distanced from, but never judges, the weird protagonist Futh, a middle-aged, not particularly attractive, recently separated man going on a walking tour in Germany. He is visiting some places he went to with his newly single father, after his mother abandoned them when he was 12. The people he meets along the way are even less prepossessing than he, but the narrator's tone of voice somehow contrives to make the reader continue to turn the pages. -- Paul Levy Wall Street Journal A man who is newly-separated from his wife but middle-aged, embarks on a walking trip in Germany. At one of the B n B's that he is staying at the landlady is also contemplating her life and marriage. You could be so easily fooled into thinking that this book is mundane and just captures the hum-drum of their every-day lives, but the author, without writing what happens, is telling you really what is going on! You also have to make up your mind as to what outcomes there are at the end. I can't tell you how brilliantly stunning this book is and I think it's a credit to Booker that this has come from a small publishing company, yet packs one hell of a punch. RBKC Libraries blog The menacing atmosphere Moore builds up is masterful, in that Futh only partly perceives it, through his own preoccupations. A pair of silky knickers he finds under his bed only makes him think squeamishly that the dust on them is 'strangers' dead skin'. Rarely is dullness so dangerous. -- Laura Marsh Literary Review

About the Author

Alison Moore's first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the National Book Awards 2012 (New Writer of the Year), winning the McKitterick Prize 2013. Her shorter fiction has been published in Best British Short Stories anthologies and in her debut collection The Pre-War House and Other Stories, whose title story won a novella prize. Born in Manchester in 1971, she lives near Nottingham with her husband Dan and son Arthur.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Nickford on 17 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
The disintegration of Futh's marriage at first seems like another statistic in matrimony until we see that it is perhaps his slightly simple nature, social clumsiness and 'round peg in a square hole' temperament which may have contributed. As the character is built, his clumsiness becomes very plausible and is combined with the realisation which haunts him of his own mother's leaving his father.

I couldn't help feeling as weighted down as he must have been by a cruel fate - if not cruel genes.

On his ambles through Germany with his father, soon after the splitting of his parents, all he has to cling to of his mother is the model lighthouse; a perfume container, which he hopes may one day give him a glimpse of luck in his life.

For me it was the way life still cheated him, the way early embitterments in life can cast a permanent cloud over a future that made me sympathise so deeply with Futh.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
It's hard to pinpoint how I feel about this book. Firstly, I can see why it has been shortlisted for lots of awards. It is clever, and playful in its construction if not its subject matter. It is beautifully, tightly written, and there is not a wasted word in the whole book. It is thoughtful and eerie, and leaves you pondering it long after you have read it.

On the other hand, having read it, I found myself wondering why I had stuck with it.

It tells the story of Futh, a bunglingly incompetent, lonely, emotionally illiterate man in middle age, whose wife has left him, and who goes on a walking holiday in Germany to reinvigorate himself before coming home to start a new life. It also tells the story of Ester, a blowsy, alcoholic, German land lady, whose life has turned out to be full of disappointment and haunted with a misery she is incapable of dealing with and blots out with sex and gin. Ester and Futh's lives intertwine and their chance encounter leads to disaster.

The story is horrible in the way it maps out the futility and drab misery of wasted human existence, both Futh and Ester's. Its sense of impending doom gets more and more persistent as the story unfolds and you find yourself willing Futh in particular, to wake up to himself and his life. As it is, there is nothing to be done, and the consequence is a car crash of a book that leaves you feeling unsettled and sad with the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By iris on 10 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recently bought and read this book,
after just finding out about Alison Moore having read about the Pre war house book.
The Lighthouse story has its main character Futh and his parents , straight away I got the sense that Futh was a man that had had his relationship and his way of life ruined somewhat by his strange parents I think Futh may have behaved differently but I think had his life shaped and conditioned by his parents
This book is dark and haunting but also very vague it continues throughout feeling a bit like groundhog day Futh goes on his walking holiday I think for escape to find himself again after a break down of his relationship but it doesn't work his mother is as equally as unhappy in her relationships seeking comfort affection and friendship in others
I noticed the way that Futh saw others was somewhat odd his quietness and shyness was almost unsettling and upsetting his clinginess toward his mother needing the familiar things around him that reminded him of his mum showed that this was a man who craved love and attention as well as being given the ability to find his voice
I can see that Fuths dad must have had his troubles too I think both Futh and his parents were going around in circles knowing they were unhappy and despite Fuths mum needing to escape, they seem as though they are stuck in a stuffy boring small family unit all desperate to break away from one another, for a better future
I felt quite sad for Futh all the way throughout this book bless him, he just seemed so accepting of being trapped in unhappy situations and he just didn't question it I hoped at the end of the book that futh and his family would find peace and things would improve but it doesn't ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rocke Harder on 18 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
No point in running through the story line of this book as it has been done to death by previous reviewers.

It was a bleak and down beat read - but what was interesting were the constant flashbacks to earlier scenes and events in the lives of the two main characters. The constant references to smells tell us that this is a powerful component of memory and one which is able to encapsulate the vividness of the moment and forever imprint it. Both characters are devastatingly affected by past events and the lack of love received in their lives; they appear to revisit these issues over and over again. But strangely they both seem to lack any real depth or circumspection - as if they are resigned to their fates - or have even died a little inside.

I do wonder why writers write books like this - I am sure it was wonderfully crafted - brimming with imagery and meaning - and I am also sure all of this deserved a lot of working out by the reader - meditation and then enlightenment. But what are they trying to achieve? The trouble is I haven't got the time or the inclination to work it all out and so much of the book was wasted on me.

No wonder it was a Booker Prize candidate because this sort of book will impress the judges. However, it did not lift the spirits.

Overall - an interesting if not a particularly enjoyable read.
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