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93 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Violet scented loneliness
The Lighthouse is an unusual and terribly sad novel. It is also rather good.

The novel tells two stories in interleaved chapters. The odd numbered chapters tell the story of a man called Futh who is going on a walking holiday in Germany, somewhat half-heartedly. The even numbered chapters tell the story of Ester, a guest house landlady.

Futh is...
Published on 15 Aug 2012 by MisterHobgoblin

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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing style, but disappointing story
The book was quite promising at the beginning. The writing style is very detailed and clear. The present tense for the actual journey he is undertaking is contrasted against the past tense for his back story, and this is done very well. However, the book is written throughout in very close focus, which gets a little wearisome after a while. The observation of minute...
Published on 17 Oct 2012 by Laughing Gravy


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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant writing style, but disappointing story, 17 Oct 2012
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The book was quite promising at the beginning. The writing style is very detailed and clear. The present tense for the actual journey he is undertaking is contrasted against the past tense for his back story, and this is done very well. However, the book is written throughout in very close focus, which gets a little wearisome after a while. The observation of minute details, which at first impresses for the expertise behind it, becomes wearying and relentless after a while.

As other reviewers have said, the main character, Futh, is rather dull, and personally I found his name really irritating by the end of the book. Although bad things happen to him, it is difficult to feel much sympathy towards him because there is little to like about him. The story doesn't really develop - although his past is revealed in bits, it is more or less all the same - people don't like him, and he doesn't have very much fun. The book could begin and end anywhere and the effect would be the same. The ending is a mild blip on a more or less horizontal line.
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93 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Violet scented loneliness, 15 Aug 2012
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Lighthouse (SALT MODERN FICTION) (Kindle Edition)
The Lighthouse is an unusual and terribly sad novel. It is also rather good.

The novel tells two stories in interleaved chapters. The odd numbered chapters tell the story of a man called Futh who is going on a walking holiday in Germany, somewhat half-heartedly. The even numbered chapters tell the story of Ester, a guest house landlady.

Futh is lonely; he is middle aged, separated from his wife Angela and seems to lack any real support network, either in the form of friends or family. He has a back story, but very little present story. He is simply adrift, waiting to see which way the tide sends him, his only anchor is a silver lighthouse in his pocket. The opening chapter, set on the deck of a car ferry plying the Harwich to Hook of Holland route tells us that this is unlikely to be a story of ostentatious wealth and splendour.

Meanwhile, Ester, the landlady of the first and last hotel on Futh's planned walking route also has a small lighthouse. Moreover, her guesthouse is called the Hellehaus - a literal but incorrect translation of "light house" in German. She, too, is lonely and bobbing in the tide, not going anywhere but quietly leading the life of Molly Bloom. This use of repeated imagery is a real trademark in the novel. Whether it is lighthouses, violets, bathrooms or a host of other images, they keep cropping up over and over again. At first this feels uncomfortable but by the end of the short novel, it is a source of immense power. Moreover, the story keeps returning to the same few incidents, each time offering just a little bit more information or a slightly different perspective. It builds into something very simple but very evocative

The overall impression is deeply melancholy. We have a sense of lonely people, sometimes living in company, sometimes clinging to fond memories with sentimentality whilst their lives slowly decompose. Youthful hope becomes middle aged routine becomes old age anaesthetic.

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.

And there is a better life to be had. Futh's childhood nemesis Kenny demonstrates that with enough charisma, it is possible to turn even modest opportunities into apparent success.

It's difficult to say more without spoiling the finely crafted sequencing; without dampening the powder. Suffice to say that it captured the 2012 Booker prize jury's collective imagination. Hopefully it will progress through to the shortlist.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible view of a depressing reality, 23 Jan 2013
By 
Cole Davis (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Putting it bluntly, this book is about the inadequate, lonely and miserable lives lived by people who have suffered inadequate parenting. Critics who give it the bird because they do not like the characters are missing the point: the holes in people's lives create people with inconsistent moral values and unexamined lives. On the whole, many of such people are neither admirable nor easy to get along with. Neither are they likely to be grotesquely bad enough to become super-villains; this is reality.

I was surprised to see such a limited vocabulary on offer. From the perspective of a language school, however, this offers an unusual strength: a short modern novel which can be read by students with relatively low levels of English but adult sensibilities.

I have stuck to a four-star rating because while I think that this is an excellent novel, I just do not see it as offering enough in terms of plot, scenery or characterisation to really be seen as a top read. It was never going to win the Booker, but I certainly do not see any serious objections to its shortlisting. It makes an honest attempt to introduce a serious idea in a novel way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully told tale of misery and human misunderstanding, 20 Oct 2013
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars discussion provoking, 11 July 2013
This review is from: The Lighthouse (SALT MODERN FICTION) (Kindle Edition)
This book has been read by 4 people at work now after I couldn't stop talking about it. One colleague absolutely hated it - felt it was boring and narrowly focused. The rest of us have had really intense discussions about these fictitious but compelling characters and their stories.
It made me feel very uncomfortable and I certainly didn't empathise with any of the characters, but the way the characters are drawn and their wearisome, solitary, daily, numbing lives is strangely compelling. Not a book I could forget in a hurry and unusually for me, one I can see myself re-reading very soon to see if I can pick up all the nuances I missed first time round.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Opinion of "The Lighthouse", 1 April 2013
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This review is from: The Lighthouse (SALT MODERN FICTION) (Kindle Edition)
I had a taster on my Kindle and was keen to read the novel. I thought it was very well-wrtitten but i found the ending to be most disappointing. Perhaps I missed the point. I picked up most of the 'threads' in the story but on the final page I thought: "Oh. Is that it?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lighthouse by Alison Moore, 10 Sep 2013
By 
iris (west midlands uk) - See all my reviews
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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 ... and your left wondering what ever happened to them
this book is probably the most haunting and unsettling story I have ever read the descriptive language used through out the book is excellent, the use of metaphor and the settings brought to life jumping out of the page at you is very clever
the book draws you into the story , willing the characters to find some backbone willing Futh and his mother to speak out
to change things for the better .this is an unusual read it s depressing its dark and its haunting it will indeed leave you wondering what happened to Futh and his mum ..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A BLEAK EXPLORATION OF MEMORY, 18 Jan 2013
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heavy burden, 17 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Lighthouse (SALT MODERN FICTION) (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 11 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Lighthouse (SALT MODERN FICTION) (Kindle Edition)
I really loved the parallel stories that intertwined between the two key characters and found the ending incredibly moving and tough. What starts as a simple story is deceptive, complex and really interesting. It was a book we discussed at my Bookclub and it generated plenty of debate
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