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The Lighthouse Paperback – August 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Salt Publishing (August 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907773177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907773174
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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 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 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. Amazon.com This is powerful writing likely to shine in your memory for a long time. -- Emily Cleaver LITRO Magazine Evocative and beautifully written in a spare and simple prose, this is a haunting, sombre and somewhat unsettling story that pulls you in quietly, yet powerfully; I downloaded this onto my Kindle early this morning and read it from the beginning to the rather surprising end in one sitting. We know it is on the longlist for the Booker Prize; it deserves to make it onto the shortlist and I, for one, very much hope it does. Amazon.co.uk The Lighthouse is a stunning book. Read it. Then read it again. -- Zoe King Amazon.co.uk 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 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 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 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 Moore's writing has a superb sense of the weight of memory. -- Kate Saunders The Times 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 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 The writing in The Lighthouse is spare and deceptively simple - there is in fact nothing simple about it - it is the kind of pared down writing that hides a multitude of complexities and leaves behind it an array of images and in this case scents. Upon closing this terribly bittersweet novel, the reader is assaulted by the memory of violets, camphor and cigarette smoke. There are several returning images and motifs in the novel, such as lighthouses, bathrooms, scents and abandonment which are beautifully explored. Heavenali.wordpress.com 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 The Lighthouse, Alison Moore's melancholic debut, would eventually have found admiring readers through the great network of word of mouth. That it has been shortlisted, deservedly, for the Man Booker Prize will quicken the process. This is a beautiful short novel sustained by muted urgency, nuance and the exactness with which Moore conveys the paralysing levels of depression that Futh battles. In order to deal with the present he attempts to make sense of his past, which refuses to fade away. His thoughts throb with humiliating episodes from his boyhood, cut short when his bored, dissatisfied mother left, leaving his father to voice his anger at his only audience, the bewildered boy. -- Eileen Battersby The Irish Times A debut novel from a high-achieving independent publisher, The Lighthouse has surprised some observers with its place on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Disquieting, deceptive, crafted with a sly and measured expertise, Alison Moore's story could certainly deliver a masterclass in slow-burn storytelling to those splashier literary celebs who take more pains over a pyrotechnic paragraph than a watertight plot. -- Boyd Tonkin The Independent The originality, structure and neat prose of this first novel justify its shortlisting, but it doesn't do much to lift the soul. -- Kate Green Country Life I am almost reluctant to share anything about Alison Moore's The Lighthouse at this stage, because I don't want to spoil it in any way for others. The Lighthouse is a short novel of only 182 pages, but is - dare I say it - perfectly formed. This is a tense, suspenseful work, the plot ticking like a time bomb. -- Megan Dunn The Listener New Zealand "The Lighthouse," Alison Moore's debut novel, is sufficiently strange to win. The third-person narrator is distanced from, but never judges, the weird protagonist Futh, a middle-aged, not particularly attractive, recently separated man going on a walking tour in Germany. He is visiting some places he went to with his newly single father, after his mother abandoned them when he was 12. The people he meets along the way are even less prepossessing than he, but the narrator's tone of voice somehow contrives to make the reader continue to turn the pages. -- Paul Levy Wall Street Journal A man who is newly-separated from his wife but middle-aged, embarks on a walking trip in Germany. At one of the B n B's that he is staying at the landlady is also contemplating her life and marriage. You could be so easily fooled into thinking that this book is mundane and just captures the hum-drum of their every-day lives, but the author, without writing what happens, is telling you really what is going on! You also have to make up your mind as to what outcomes there are at the end. I can't tell you how brilliantly stunning this book is and I think it's a credit to Booker that this has come from a small publishing company, yet packs one hell of a punch. RBKC Libraries blog The menacing atmosphere Moore builds up is masterful, in that Futh only partly perceives it, through his own preoccupations. A pair of silky knickers he finds under his bed only makes him think squeamishly that the dust on them is 'strangers' dead skin'. Rarely is dullness so dangerous. -- Laura Marsh Literary Review

About the Author

Alison Moore's first novel, The Lighthouse, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the National Book Awards 2012 (New Writer of the Year), winning the McKitterick Prize 2013. Her shorter fiction has been published in Best British Short Stories anthologies and in her debut collection The Pre-War House and Other Stories, whose title story won a novella prize. Born in Manchester in 1971, she lives near Nottingham with her husband Dan and son Arthur.

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Customer Reviews

All characters are well rounded and interesting.
Manuel Gonzalez Aguade
This book was interesting at the beginning but I kept getting lost as it jumped from one character story to another.
Grover Dade Prescott
The story progresses too slow with too many unnecessary details.
Charles Isele

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Deborah in BC on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The long- listed Booker novel The Lighthouse begins with this epigraph:

she became a tall lighthouse sending out kindly beams which some took for a welcome instead of warnings against the rocks - Muriel Spark , " The Curtain Blown by the Breeze"

And so begins a fascinating and somewhat challenging read, full of symbolism and ambiguity.

At first glance it appears to be a tale of the mundane details of the middle- aged , recently separated man named " Futh". We never learn if " Futh " is his first or last name, he is simply" Futh" and an easily forgettable man. Futh appears to be somewhat slow witted, having not learned to drive until he was middle aged, and someone who has great difficulty with a map and organizing his life. He is also socially awkward, having no one to serve as his best man at his own wedding except for his father.

The lighthouse exists for Futh's father as physical, technological interest; whereas for Futh, the lighthouse is a perfume container that many years ago belonged to Futh's mother. Futh's mother left her husband and Futh when Futh was but a 10 year old because she was " bored". He carries the silver lighthouse with him at all times, mainly a memory of his mother, but also somewhat of a talisman.

At beginning of the story, Futh is traveling to Germany to re- walk a holiday that he took with his father shortly after his mother left. During his "circular" walk he hopes to close some old wounds and try to come to terms with his life as a child , and his recent separation from his wife. Futh stays at inn named " Hellhaus" , which in English, " translates to" bright house" or " light house", but one can easily understand its other meaning. Hellhaus is owned and run by a rather dysfunctional couple, Bernard and Ester.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Larry VINE VOICE on October 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Futh is traveling to Germany to go on a walking tour- 100 km in a week. It is a holiday from his otherwise miserable life. He is splitting up with his wife and is now duplicating a trip he took with his father when he was just a boy. He often thinks back to the mother that left both his father and him. In a sense, he is lost. Ester is mired in a neglectful marriage having affairs regularly with customers coming to her small hotel in Germany. Futh uses this hotel as his destination the first and last night of his trip. He is barely noticed by Ester as he goes on his way. It is not until his return that the devastating climax occurs.
Alison Moore superbly sets up the tension in this relatively brief novel. There is a certain pathos about all the characters. All appear to be damaged souls. The lighthouse is a metaphor used throughout the book and eventually becomes the touchstone for destruction. This is a beautifully written literary novel and a superb choice for the Booker shortlist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book lover on October 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The disintegration of Futh's marriage at first seems like just another very sad statistic in matrimony, until we see that it's perhaps Futh's 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 when combined with the constant awareness 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 flashback to his ambles through Germany with his father, soon after the splitting of his parents, all he has to cling to of his mother through to his rather humdrum middle age is the model lighthouse she gave him as a child, a perfume container, which he hopes may one day give him a glimpse of better 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 any future, that made me sympathise so deeply with Futh. However, the tone of the book is often so interminably loaded with cloud that the cumulative effect is almost depressing. Perhaps this is the success of the book but, to an extent, that success eluded me.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Gonzalez Aguade on October 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down. It was a fantastic page turner. All characters are well rounded and interesting. How many things are left unsaid is a master stroke of language. I highly recommend this book. I hope it wins the Man Booker Prize.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stella on August 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Reading this deceptively unassuming novel turns into an addiction, an obsession. The ending comes as a complete surprise. Haunting, powerful, a great read, deserving its place on the Man Booker long list.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Goneril on October 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is original, spare and wonderfully weird in a Hitchcockean sense. The lighthouse as an icon of loneliness and isolation is explored within a narrative of apparently aimless and circular tramping. Narrative is driven by evocations of strange odours; I will never hang camphor balls in my wardrobe again. This book is the dark knight on the Man Booker short list, 2012.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ripple on October 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
The tone of Alison Moore's "The Lighthouse" is tight and sparse, perfectly fitting for this sad and chilling novel. It may be modest in terms of page count, but it packs a huge emotional punch. Particularly remarkable is the repeated use of images and symbols, not least that of the lighthouse, which could so easily have come over as forced and repetitive but it isn't and that's a huge achievement in itself.

A middle aged man, Futh, recently separated, is heading to Germany for a walking holiday, starting off his week-long trip in the Hellhouse hotel - German for Lighthouse but also aptly named for the fairly hellish life of the owners and in particular the wife, Ester whose violent husband Bernard hangs over the story throughout. Ester's story is told in alternating, generally shorter chapters. We learn of both Ester's and Futh's backstory although Futh's problems probably go back further than Ester's unsuitable marriage. Futh seems to be replaying his own parents' life in his own sad experience.

As well as the name of the hotel, both Ester and Furth are in possession of lighthouse shaped perfume holders, one in wood and one in silver. For Futh in particular this is an emotive talisman, not least as it recalls a poignant conversation his father had with his mother about lighthouses. Then again, perhaps the real lighthouse of this story is the stranger Futh meets on the ferry in the first chapter, warning of dangers ahead. Other events, images and situations are echoed in both Futh and Ester's lives throughout. The more you look, the more resonances you find.

It's achingly sad and even though you never really warm to the main characters, this only adds to the chilling quality of the story. It really is a superbly crafted piece of writing full of precision and imagery.
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