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Lighthouse Paperback – 25 Aug 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Eland Publishing Ltd (25 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0907871585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0907871583
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.1 x 14.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A splendid book which has enriched my understanding of human nature."

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Well yes, said the six-foot-two-inches-tall fifteen stone Principal Keeper, I suppose you could say it was a bit like that sometimes if you wanted to, yes. Specially if you were the sort of person who has a tendency to let little things worry you a bit. But very few towers actually fall down you know; we don’t lose a great number of keepers, least not in a normal week. Christ those cigars of yours stink; I’d worry more about dying from suffocation if you were with us on our tower than I would about being smashed to buggery by the sea.

Our tower’s only a small one; it’d have to be wouldn’t it otherwise I’d never fit in! Looking at the size of you I reckon we could squeeze you in somewhere if you wanted to come, so long as you wouldn’t mind sleeping in the cage with the budgie. So what if Trinity have turned you down a couple of times? That was last year and the year before wasn’t it? People come and people go; it was only a few weeks ago I heard they’d got someone new in there who’s breaking the news gently to them now that the twentieth century looks like it’s here to stay. Buy me another drink and I’ll tell you some more; and if anyone reprimands me for inviting you to come on our lighthouse I’ll say I was under the influence of alcohol. I’ll have one of those cigars in self-defence. Fucking hell, I thought I was a hard man; you mean you actually smoke those for pleasure? Jesus Christ." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Why this book has 'Celtic Interest' written beside it is a mystery - it virtually defines a human interest book. It's very rare for people to own just one Tony Parker book - after discovering him you usually want to track down his books in 2nd hand bookshops and collect them one by one. This one, however, is his best - countless vivid tales of human behaviour, all of them quietly moving. It's not only his ability to get people talking honestly to him which is notable, but also his tendency to efface himself afterwards. So many things in the book strike a chord - the wife for whom the lifehouse service has become a sort of monster, the jokes of the lighthouse keepers, the meals they eat, the loneliness at night, the descriptions of the power of the sea, the keeper who spends his time in the lighthouse totally sober, and his leave on shore on a four-week headlong bender. The book is about everything but, most ironically of all, it's one of the only books I've read which is such a celebration of marriage. Tony Parker said it was probably the favourite of his books, and the one had marked him most. You can see why: it haunts you for a long time afterwards, and will make you lament the passing of the British light-house service. A gem of a book, and an experience all readers should have at some point. Before reading other Tony Parker books - like The Twisting Lane.
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By A Customer on 29 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Tony Parker was not only a marvellous writer. As is quite obvious from this book, he was also a remarkable human being: perceptive, sympathetic, tenacious and warm. All these qualities are apparent in LIGHTHOUSE which is the study of a vanished world. British off-shore lighthouses are no longer manned by teams of keepers. Instead, they are electronically controlled from the shore. Parker writes about the people who used to do this work manually in lonely, dangerous and sometimes frightening conditions. He tells the stories of te keepers and their families - their hopes and fears, their motives for doing the work they did, their feelings about the lighthouse service and the effect the work had on their relationships. He is especially good on the way separation shaped the lives of maried couples who were often parted for months at a time while husbands tended their lights and wives stayed on shore.
This is both a fascinating sociological sudy and a gripping human story. I can't recommend it too highly. Ditto another book by Tony Parker, THE PEOPLE OF PROVIDENCE, also published by Eland Books.
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Format: Paperback
I have read this book 6 or 7 times now in the time I have owned it, and never tire of it; something new appears on each reading. Tony Parker takes the reader through the experiences of keepers and their families on Land lighthouses, Rock lighthouses and ultimately the most isolated Tower lights. He is brilliant in getting participants to talk and describe their lives and feelings, then editing these interviews into a beautifully composed book. Each chapter brings new insights into the men who supervised these lights and their psyche. The haunting passages in the final section on Tower lights are a powerful journey into the lives and minds of keepers, and will stand as a tribute and historical evidence of this now defunct lifestyle
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have said, Tony Parker's books are addictive.Its a bit like reality TV in book form (and without the egos!).

From start to finish this book - really a collection of interviews expertly collected in to themes - is a total delight.

The romance of what it must have been like to be a lighthouse keeper is strong for many of us.There is no longer such a job but anyone looking back in time and wondering if they would have enjoyed the life should read this book. You learn quickly about the 3 types of lighthouse (Land Light; Rock Light; Tower Light) and the 3 classes of keeper (Supernumerary Assistant Keeper (SAK); Assistant Keeper (AK); Principal Keeper (PK)).
You learn too that it is not just the fact that keepers spent weeks away from their families (with food running out!) that could be depressing. Also most keepers were constantly moved from one Light to another, all over the UK, so both they and their families would find it hard to put down roots.

One reviewer of this book complains that all the names have been changed. It was for good reason as many of the interviews are highly candid. Many keepers talk about each other and you can't wait to get to the next chapter to see if the feelings that one keeper had for another are mutual.

Interviews with the wives are actually very interesting too as you frequently learn the back stories about how her husband became a keeper OR what it is like to wait (and wait!) for the change in weather for her hubby to be able to come home.

You learn just what is involved in running a lighthouse, the (not very) technical ways of establishing how strong the wind is and how they spend their free time.("Barry has been reading a paperback by Margaret Drabble.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those interested in the life of lighthouse keepers this is the perfect book. It is a collection of interviews linked together to give a good insight into the lighthouse keepers and their families. Well done and very interesting.
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