So you think you know everything there is to know about Alison Moore’s Booker nominated novel The Lighthouse? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!
What’s it about?
The Lighthouse is described by the book’s publisher Salt Publishing as follows:
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012
The Lighthouse begins on a North Sea ferry, on whose blustery outer deck stands Futh, a middle-aged, recently separated man heading to Germany for a restorative walking holiday.
Spending his first night in Hellhaus at a small, family-run hotel, he finds the landlady hospitable but is troubled by an encounter with an inexplicably hostile barman.
In the morning, Futh puts the episode behind him and sets out on his week-long circular walk along the Rhine. As he travels, he contemplates his childhood; a complicated friendship with the son of a lonely neighbour; his parents’ broken marriage and his own. But the story he keeps coming back to, the person and the event affecting all others, is his mother and her abandonment of him as a boy, which left him with a void to fill, a substitute to find.
He recalls his first trip to Germany with his newly single father. He is mindful of something he neglected to do there, an omission which threatens to have devastating repercussions for him this time around.
At the end of the week, Futh, sunburnt and blistered, comes to the end of his circular walk, returning to what he sees as the sanctuary of the Hellhaus hotel, unaware of the events which have been unfolding there in his absence.
Who is Alison Moore?
According to her official bio on the Salt publishing website:
Alison Moore was born in Manchester in 1971 but grew up in Leicestershire where she lives with her husband Dan and young son Arthur. Her first story was published in spring 2000. In the same year, her stories were placed in the Marches Literary Prize and the Brian Moore Short Story Awards and shortlisted for the Real Writers Short Story Awards and the Fish Short Story Prize. More recently, she has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the Bristol Short Story Prize, the Manchester Fiction Prize, the Wells Festival of Literature Short Story Prize and the Lightship Flash Fiction Prize. She won 1st prize in the novella category of The New Writer Prose and Poetry Prizes 2009. Her work has been published as a chapbook (Nightjar Press, 2010), in magazines including The Coffee House, The Creative Writers Network Bulletin, The New Writer and Quality Women’s Fiction and in anthologies including Best British Short Stories 2011 (Salt) and Murmurations: An Anthology of Uncanny Stories About Birds (Two Ravens Press, 2011).
What does BookerMarks think of The Lighthouse?
Elizabeth (Review): “I needed a hug when it was done.”
Mike (Review): “I’m a sucker for a Homer-esque road story, and it’s only this ending that knocks The Lighthouse down to 4 stars.”
Michelle (Review): “I just don’t know what to write about. I liked it – but I just wasn’t impressed enough with it to discuss it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.”
Karli (Review): “Alison Moore’s novel is a melancholy portrayal of loneliness, abandonment, restlessness, and regret, but Futh and Ester’s stories are quietly powerful, and their memories serve as reminders of the events in our past from which our senses will never let us escape.”
Jackie (Review): “3 stars for a short but powerful novel. It will be interesting to see if this one makes the shortlist.”
Aaron (Review): “Almost immediately though things get off to a bad start for Futh and just as quickly, by way of her amazingly descriptive, incredibly warm and inviting writing style, author Alison Moore sets the stage for a truly unique literary adventure, one in which the past and present collide in unexpected and unpredictable ways which serve to highlight the truly random nature of life.”
Penny (Review): “There are any number of symbolic items and references littered throughout this novel to review, research and discuss that would make any English literature teacher sing with joy.”