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The Lightkeeper's Daughter Hardcover – September 10, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (September 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385729251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385729253
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,411,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The thunder of the waves, the screams of seagulls, and the smell of torn kelp suffuse this quiet, introspective story of a young woman's return to her childhood home on an island off the west coast of Canada. The sea in all its moods makes a turbulent background for a story of four people closely tied together by their idyllic but claustrophobic life alone on Lizzie Island, and by the tangled strands of resentment, guilt, and love that bind them. Elizabeth, nicknamed Squid, has brought a load of bitter anger with her on this first visit back to Lizzie Island since she left two years ago after her daughter, Tatiana, was born. The child is the result of an encounter with a passing kayaker, who took advantage of Squid's youthful innocence. The visit is tense also for Squid's parents, Hannah and Murray, the meticulous lighthouse keeper. All three blame themselves and each other for the death, or possible suicide, of Squid's brother, Alastair, but are unable to confront their feelings.

Iain Lawrence makes a striking shift in this book from the swashbuckling action of his seagoing trilogy, The Wreckers, The Smugglers, and The Buccaneers, to a contemplative story only gradually revealed in bits and pieces through the memories of the four principals. The harsh but seductive beauty of the island and its limitation on their lives is subtly portrayed in this book that will be enjoyed by older girls who are willing to accept its thoughtful pace. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell

From Publishers Weekly

Lawrence (the High Seas Trilogy) returns to the ocean for this exquisite novel that conjures literally the nature and mood of an island haunted by tragedy. When 17-year-old Elizabeth McCrae better known as Squid returns to her childhood home on Lizzie Island, a remote spot off the coast of British Columbia where her father serves as lightkeeper, she has a three-year-old daughter and a host of memories in tow. Chief among them are images of her brother, Alastair, who drowned when his kayak overturned. The events surrounding his death gradually and inexorably come to light, sifted through his journal entries (which Squid uncovers), scraps of remembered conversations and a compelling third-person narrative that alternates between Squid and her parents. Lawrence charts the course of the human heart, with cascading emotions of remorse and fury, love and passion, hope and nostalgia. Sea creatures take on metaphoric symbolism (a raven is "the Undertaker"; a beached whale prompts a conversation and some closure on Alistair's death). The author blends tangible descriptions ("There was no wind and no swell, and the water lapped at the shore as soft as cat tongues") and an elegiac tone (Hannah hesitates to use a pair of old U-boat binoculars: "It would be wrong to watch for her daughter through lenses that have witnessed the drowning of men") as he unspools an unforgettable tale. Rather ambiguous references to Tatiana's paternity mark this for mature readers. With adult characters every bit as memorable as the teen characters, plus its stunning ability to create a sense of the island's rhythms and habitat, Lawrence's novel not only lives up to the high standards of his previous works, but may well attract a wide adult readership. Ages 14-up.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

She's not sure what the best route to take would be.
M. Reynard
At first I thought that the book was bad but as soon as I kept on reading, it started to get a lot better.
This is a story that is haunting and bittersweet, a setting that is utterly entrancing.
Richie Partington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Iain Lawrence does an excellent job of bringing his reader back and forth between what his main character Squid remembers as a child growing up on Lizzie Island and what she feels now, at the age of 17, as she returns to the island to see her parents after she went away to have the baby she became pregnant with at 13.
This book lets readers think about how they saw things as a child and how they realize how their thoughts and ideas have changed as an adult or even young adult as they follow Squid through this realization.
Lawrence's description of the island and the family that lives on this lonely island are captivating. You are instantly brought into a lightkeeper's life with his great imagery, and I thought once I could smell the salt in the air of my living room.
Even though this book was almost 250 pages, it was an easy and fast read that left me wanting to know what had really taken place on the island, what really happened to Squid's brother who mysteriously died before she left the island, and how her daughter, the baby girl she left the island to have, will react to this mysterious and lonely island, as well as her grandparents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on October 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
" 'Gather round.' He always said 'Gather round' to start it off. Squid was six or seven.
"Hannah, Squid, and Alastair sat on the rocks as sharp as nails. 'This is the byssus,' said Murray, spreading with his fingers the cottony threads that held the mussel to its rock. 'It's spun by a gland in the animal's foot. He lashes himself in place like Ulysses to his mast.' "He turned the shell in his hand. It was a California mussel, nearly eight inches long. He pointed out the scars along the shell, like patches of white on its deep purple back. 'This fellow,' he said, 'has had some sort of an accident. He might have been wacked by a log.' The scars were deep, and Murray picked at the grooves with his nails. 'The poor brute almost bought it there. Must have got the fright of his life.'
" 'How old is he?' asked Alistair.
" 'Hard to say.' Murray bounced the mussel in his palm. 'He's an old-timer, all right. They grow like weeds in the beginning; more than three inches the first year. But then they slow down, and this one's lived on the island maybe as long as I have.' "
Imagine being Murray and Hannah's kid: growing up on an island, learning how to swim before you walk, working with your parents for a few hours in the morning, and then having the rest of the day for exploring, reading, playing, dreaming, and listening to your father rhapsodize about the mysteries of the plant and animal kingdoms around you. Hop into a glass-bottomed rowboat he's built, paddle out into the water as you observe the creatures below, and then stow the oars as whales breach and blow alongside you.
Hungry? Need a new book? Don't worry! Supply ships come by the island every month so that you've got plenty of food, fuel, supplies, clothes, and books to read.
There is a downside, however.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Georgette on January 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Set on a remote island on the western coast of Canada against a backdrop of wicked storms, anguished memories, and vast loneliness comes the beautiful and poignant story of 17 year old Squid and her family, the Mc Craes. Though much of the story is about Squid, the story is told mostly from the perspective and memories of Squid's mother Hannah, as the reader is drawn into the world of separation, and reunion.
Growing up on the remote Lizzie Island and as a lightkeeper's daughter, Squid could swim before she could walk, and had only met 50 people in her entire 17 years. Squid returns to the island after three years separation with her three year old daughter Tatiana in tow. The reunion is painful, and redeeming, much of it bringing back memories of accidental or perhaps suicidal drowning of Squid's brother Alistar, and of Squid's pregancy from a lone kyaker when she was 13 years old. Much of the conflict in this story stems from the death of Alistar and how each member of the family deals with the regret, guilt, and loss, and from the difficulties and beauty of living daily with isolation and often violent nature.
I loved this book, and think it would be a wonderful read for the older thoughtful teen reader. I thought the rating as a 14+ teen novel was misleading as the slow poetic pace and thought provoking nature of the book might not capture the attention of the average teen. But, the gift in this book for me was truly the beautiful langugage Lawrence weaves throught out the story...The descriptions of the sea and rugged beauty of the island were truly captivating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bobby on May 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
The Light Keepers Daughter

This book was strange but really interesting. At first I thought that the book was bad but as soon as I kept on reading, it started to get a lot better. The book has a lot of twisted and turns in it. Although squid loves her dad she blames him for everything that happens, like her brother dying. I like this book cause it was different. Not every book is about islands and light keepers. This girl that is the main character is so much like anything, or me, that I wish that I never had to go home like that. She is always having fun and running around. I really like it and would recommend this to anyone who likes fun fictional books. One thing I didn't like was how they would talk about how the past was, and then they would talk about the future bounce back and forth between the past and future and sometimes they would lose me. It talked about people in the third person a lot which was kind also of confusing.
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