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The Lighthouse Paperback – August 15, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thee main character is pathetic. The other characters have nothing to recommend them either. In short, there is no one in this book that it is possible to really care about.Published 4 months ago by Bettye R. Clement
This is a thoroughly enjoyable, small book. It is the story of Futh, a middle aged man recently separated, trying to make sense of his life. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Alumine Andrew
Rarely do I think a book has little to no redeeming value. I found one. The book is "The Lighthouse" by Alison Moore. The plot is disjointed and repetitive. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sue Hansen
Would probably give this a 3.5
Weird yet compelling story, following a character named Futh, as he undertakes a walking tour of Germany to get over a recent broken marriage. Read more
An engaging book which was not predictable. A good weekend read.Published 18 months ago by Candi Lloyd
The novel peeks into the life of middle-aged Futh, as he reflects on his childhood, his parents, and his recently ended marriage while on a walking holiday in Germany. Read morePublished 19 months ago by J. Ang
The Lighthouse is an unusual novel. None of the characters are very attractive and little of note happens. Despite these drawbacks it's a book I had to finish. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Geoff Naylor