Embarking on a restorative walking holiday in Germany following the breakup of his marriage, Futh spends his first night at a Hellhaus hotel run by Ester and her volatile husband Bernard. The latter takes a near-violent dislike to Futh, confusing him. As Futh walks in solitude along the Rhine, he is beset by memories—his abandonment as a boy by his mother, a trip to Germany taken with his recently divorced father, and his own early relationship with Angela, his ex-wife—and the urgent sense of things left undone which could still have devastating consequences.
Back at the hotel, Ester’s behavior becomes increasing erratic, and when Futh returns for a final night’s stay he is unprepared for the explosive confrontation awaiting him.
Beautifully rendered, moving and ruthless, Alison Moore’s Booker-shortlisted The Lighthouse is an unforgettable work of unsettling perfection.
PRAISE FOR ALISON MOORE
“[The Lighthouse’s] taut sentences vibrate with tension … Moore constructs a precise and perfectly paced psychological drama in which all our senses are on constant alert … This elegant novel leaves a haunting scent of camphor in the air.”—Susan Wyndham, New York Times Book Review
“As the parallel stories unpack these two [protagonists’] respective pasts, talismans of memory seem to uncannily connect them: Venus flytraps, the smell of a certain perfume, replica lighthouses that both keep as protective charms. Ms. Moore has written a short, bleak, atmospheric book full of such strange symbols that, in the murk of Futh’s confusion, suddenly come aglow with meaning.”—Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
“Starkly written and suspenseful, this novel … is a slow burn of jealousy, anger, and anxiety that reads like a drama peeked at through a crack in a door. Moore’s prose is sharp and often sparse, while her characters are loathsome and sympathetic by turns. Complex and thrilling, this meditation on the past is a gripping story of betrayal and its lingering effects.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Mooe’s deceptively simple style perfectly suits this tale of memory, sadness, and self-doubt … [A] satisfying, mysterious novel.”—Publishers Weekly
“The Lighthouse is a powerfully poetic and moving study of loss, grief, and abandonment…”—New York Journal of Books
“Moore’s triumph is that she manages to thread the needle, creating a haunting, elegiac book that is very hard to put down. Readers will most likely finish The Lighthouse quickly; its images will remain with them long after.”—Shelf-Awareness
“Melancholy and haunting.”—Margaret Drabble
“Disquieting, deceptive, crafted with a sly and measured expertise, Alison Moore’s story could certainly deliver a masterclass in slow-burn storytelling.”—The Independent
“The Lighthouse is a page turner … we’re immersed in a chilly, heart-wrenching story that seems to say that, for all our obsessions with old wounds and childhood hurts, the thing that damages us most of all is the thing of which we are unaware.”—The Guardian
“A unique, compelling, deftly crafted novel that reveals author Alison Moore’s genuine flair for creating memorable characters and an unpredictable and consistently engaging storyline, The Lighthouse is unreservedly recommended”—Wisconsin Bookwatch
“Moore’s writing has a superb sense of the weight of memory.”—Kate Saunders, The Times