Lighthouse, The (SALT MODERN FICTION) Paperback – 15 Aug 2012
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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 "
This is powerful writing likely to shine in your memory for a long time.--Emily Cleaver "LITRO Magazine "
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 "
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 "
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 "
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 "
Moore's writing has a superb sense of the weight of memory.--Kate Saunders "The Times "
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 "
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 "
The Lighthouse is a stunning book. Read it. Then read it again.--Zoe King "Amazon.co.uk "
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 "
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 "
About the Author
Alison Moore's first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Awards (New Writer of the Year), winning the McKitterick Prize. Both The Lighthouse and her second novel, He Wants, were Observer Books of the Year. Her shorter fiction has been included in Best British Short Stories and Best British Horror anthologies, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra and collected in The Pre-War House and Other Stories. Born in Manchester in 1971, she lives near Nottingham with her husband Dan and son Arthur.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
When Futh arrives in Holland he drives to Hellhaus, near Koblenz, in Germany, where he has booked a room in a small hotel, also named Hellhaus (which means 'bright house' or 'lighthouse' in German) where he plans to spend his first and last night. In alternating chapters with Futh's story, we read about Ester, the owner of the hotel, who is married to Bernard, but who sleeps with any of the passing guests who take her fancy.
This is a very short book so I shall be careful not to reveal too much information and spoil the story for prospective readers, however I will just say that as Futh continues his walking holiday, his thoughts continually return to the abandonment of him by his mother, his difficult life with his father after his mother left and the disintegration of his own marriage. His mind also ponders on his childhood friendship with his next door neighbour, Kenny, his anxious aunt, Freda, and the recent unusual encounter he had with Carl, a man he met on the ferry.Read more ›
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 ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written but the ending was fairly obvious from early on in the book.Published 5 months ago by R Cranna
Absolutely love this writer - the way the story snakes round is brilliant!Published 7 months ago by Ping
After I read this book, I thought about it a lot. I was even lucky enough to pass my thoughts on to the author who has always found the time to engage her readership. Read morePublished 8 months ago by markovski
A good read that kept me interested throughout.
I found myself feeling increasingly sorry for the main character whom by no fault of his own had a bad deal in life. Read more
It’s refreshing to see a slim novel published by an small indie press get the attention which ‘The Lighthouse’ has received, but having completed the book, I’m not quite sure it... Read morePublished 12 months ago by seadub66
Although I can appreciate the form of the book, I can't say I 'enjoyed' this and found it too bleak, frustrating and pessimistic.Published 12 months ago by Jenny-Notts
I read this aloud to my wife and found myself rushing over the mountains of description. We didn't need to know every object in the entire room in each setting. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jobotohi