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on 15 June 2002
Pharos is one of the best books I've read recently. Beautifully written, it tells a compelling ghost story. The author has managed to accurately capture the 19th century atmosphere of Scotland without sacrificing the terrifc characterization. I especially liked the mysterious and sexy woman, washed up next to the lighthouse. The author keeps you guessing the outcome until the truly original denoument. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough, anyone who likes excting mysteries and/or interesting new forms of writing will not be disappointed!
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This is an intriguing and spooky, old fashioned ghost story, set in nineteenth century Scotland in a lighthouse on a remote island. At the lighthouse lives Cameron, the Principal Keeper of the Lighthouse, as well as Simon, his new assistant.
Life is very structured and routine on the island. Cameron and Simon work side by side in tandem, as they maintain the lighthouse and keep its nightly beacon of light burning brightly. They life a simple though apparently solitary life. Yet, at the opposite end of the island, a young golden girl sits in a trance by a crypt.
One day, Simon finds a woman with long dark hair and large gray eyes submerged beneath a bed of seaweed. This woman has no memory of who she is or from where she came. They arbitrarily name her Lucia after a ship that once wrecked itself on the rocks off shore. From the moment she is found, however, nothing is ever the same on that island.
Not even the arrival on the island of Charlotte, Cameron's no nonsense sister, can offset the growing sense of dread and wonder that oppressively seems to permeate the island. A sense of evil and of things being not quite right lays like a miasma over all.
This is an atmospheric and evocative novella that will keep the reader turning its pages. Those readers who like ghost stories will have an appreciation for this book.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is an intriguing and spooky, old fashioned ghost story, set in nineteenth century Scotland in a lighthouse on a remote island. At the lighthouse lives Cameron, the Principal Keeper of the Lighthouse, as well as Simon, his new assistant.
Life is very structured and routine on the island. Cameron and Simon work side by side in tandem, as they maintain the lighthouse and keep its nightly beacon of light burning brightly. They life a simple though apparently solitary life. Yet, at the opposite end of the island, a young golden girl sits in a trance by a crypt.
One day, Simon finds a woman with long dark hair and large gray eyes submerged beneath a bed of seaweed. This woman has no memory of who she is or from where she came. They arbitrarily name her Lucia after a ship that once wrecked itself on the rocks off shore. From the moment she is found, however, nothing is ever the same on that island.
Not even the arrival on the island of Charlotte, Cameron's no nonsense sister, can offset the growing sense of dread and wonder that oppressively seems to permeate the island. A sense of evil and of things being not quite right lays like a miasma over all.
This is an atmospheric and evocative novella that will keep the reader turning its pages. Those readers who like ghost stories will have an appreciation for this book.
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on 3 February 2016
This is the third Alice Thompson book I've read, the others being Salt's excellent Burnt Island and The Book Collector. Pharos takes a similar path to The Book Collector, with its young female protagonist, Lucia, and the single-set location (this time, a lighthouse). Like The Book Collector, the supporting cast here are mostly male and mostly manipulative. Paranoia is a strong theme again. The reader can't be sure of what is real or surreal, making for a wonderfully unsettling read. And, as with her other work, it's the writing that shines the most: Thompson succeeds in achieving both an underwritten and elegant delivery. Drops a point for perhaps being a little too self-indulgent at times, and dialogue that can be a little stilted, but still a brilliant ghost story.
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on 22 June 2014
Different, intriguing.. very strange, full of atmosphere as always..thought the ending dragged a bit. Not a favourite but will give it a second read.
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on 18 August 2007
An award-winning author. A not so uncommon genre. But the result, a novella, was even too long drawn out. The plot seemed interesting enough at the beginning, but I feel the author only managed to skim along the plot lines, only gave out tidbits whenever describing the locale and the few characters she had to work with. I didn't feel drawn in at all to the world she was trying to set down on page. Glimpses of Cameron's growing self-doubt, Lucia's meandering episodes, his assistant's seemingly new-found magical abilities, a mysterious child wandering the island, nothing was working for me. Midway through the story I hardly cared about any of the characters any more, and not surprisingly the ending lacked the plot twist that I was naively but half expecting to see--utterly anticlimactic.
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