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Customer Review

34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strangely disappointing, 3 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Lighthouse, The (SALT MODERN FICTION) (Paperback)
I was greatly looking forward to reading The Lighthouse, as I've long admired Salt Publishing (think Tobias Hill, think Paul Magrs)and was glad that such a lively and risk-taking publisher had a novel selected for the Man Booker shortlist. Most of the reviews were 5-star, and I was sure that mine would be too - especially on the evidence of Alison Moore's terrifying short story 'When the door closed, it was dark' (Nightjar).

So maybe my expectations were too high. Though - should they not be high, for a Booker shortlisted? Instead of being gripped by it, I found it contrived, repetitive, and lacking in proper context. Futh is half-German, for instance, but that has had little effect on his character or outlook. Worse, when he gets to Germany one would scarcely know he was outside Britain: he's a nervous driver, yet manages the autobahns with no problem, readily overtaking in his right-hand drive car. His landlady even reads 'Mills and Boon'. These may seem like quibbles, but given the detail - to me excessive detail - of what he eats, what he sees on the ferry, each bedroom he occupies in the hostelries he stays at by the Rhine, they left me mistrusting the author's purpose. I wasn't there with Futh; I was observing him being observed by the writer.

The result, for me, was tricksy, rather than engaging or frightening. I was sad to be so disappointed. I've also read Hilary Mantel's Bring Up The Bodies, and I have to say that would be my clear and outright Man Booker winner.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Oct 2012 19:18:05 BDT
J.Little says:
'Mills and Boon' books are also published in Germany...

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Oct 2012 13:48:42 BDT
Good point! However, I think that the reviewer was right to mention it. While undoubtedly some German people read Mills & Boon, just as some may well have afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream and jam or read Agatha Christie books, it does not really help set the scene. Some sort of qualifier - "German editions of Mills & Boon" or something along those lines might have helped...

Posted on 4 Apr 2013 10:51:11 BDT
monica says:
When I read that sentence I stopped, and then realised that Mills & Boon probably did publish books in German. But the point is that it reading it did make me stop dead in my tracks to wonder about it--not a good thing.

It also occurred to me that given how little sense of a different country & of hiking there is in the book, Futh might just as well having been touring the roundabouts of Milton Keynes, as the reviewer hints.
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Location: Chester United Kingdom

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