Posted on July 3, 2015
24. ‘The Lighthouse’ by Alison Moore
This book was recommended to me by a friend who clearly knows my style pretty well! It’s a relatively short book, but it’s absolutely dripping with atmosphere.
Futh is going on a walking holiday in Germany, alone. As he travels, he thinks about his life and the things that have happened to him in his past. The further he goes, the more we learn about his failed marriage, his poor relationship with his father, and the mother who abandoned him as a child. Most often, Futh returns to a memory of his parents on the coast, sunbathing and listening to his father talking about lighthouses. Underneath this veneer of normality there is a dark undercurrent, and this feeling of discomfort grows gradually throughout the story.
Futh is an interesting character in that he is entirely passive. His life is made up of things happening to him and he very rarely (if ever) takes any kind of positive action. Moore does this passivity very well, setting up the more active characters in such a way that the reader realises before the end of the book what is going to happen to Futh. There is an overwhelming feeling of inevitability: Futh is pushed inexorably towards his conclusion, and yet he remains entirely oblivious to it.
The novel has a fairly isolated tone. The narrative voice feels detached and the events of the story are relayed without emotion. This reflects how distant Futh seems to be from everything and everyone around him, and it really drives home this book’s sense of loneliness. After reading The Lighthouse, you’re probably going to want to go and hug someone you love.
My only criticism of The Lighthouse would be that there is a lot of infidelity in it. Now that’s not a problem in itself – affairs are a crucial element in many relationship stories – but when every couple in a book is experiencing infidelity it does somewhat lose its impact and become a bit too predictable. Still, that’s the only fault I can find with an otherwise tantalisingly sinister story.
“His heart feels like the raw meat it is. It feels like something peeled and bleeding.”
Have you read this book? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Want to read this? You can buy the book here.