Dan Sandman

13: The Lighthouse by Alison Moore

In Adventure, Books, Fiction on 29/03/2013 at 12:00 pm

My local bookshop, Primrose Hill books, has a sign in the window (see below). As bookshops are being put under pressure from Amazon, they are finding creative ways to engage readers within their local communities. One such way is to encourage authors to give talks and to sell signed copies of their books. I went along to such a talk and enjoyed listening to Alison Moore reading from her début novel.

Primrose Hill Books (sign)

“As bookshops are being put under pressure from Amazon, they are finding creative ways to engage readers within their local communities.”

In the gaps between reading several chapters, Moore revealed how the book was inspired by a walking holiday she had made with her husband. She was good humoured, pleasant to listen to and came across as a very warm person. We were tolled that the initial idea had come from an image she had in her head of a smashed glass bottle. Later, I spoke to her as she signed my book. I mentioned that I could hear the Raymond Carver influence. She signed it “To Daniel, Lovely To Meet You!”, although we hadn’t properly met.

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (inside)

“I mentioned that I could hear the Raymond Carver influence. She signed it “To Daniel, Lovely To Meet You!”, although we hadn’t properly met.”

The tone of The Lighthouse is somewhat melancholic. Characters interior thoughts are drawn towards regret and sorrow; haunting memories intertwine with the present moment. Enhanced by the concisely written prose, a tension is created that draws in the reader. Unanswered questions and symbolic meanings leave cryptic clues; what is not said is as important as what is said: the implicit versus the explicit. And so, the relevance of smells or the symbolism of moths comes to the foreground like lines within a poem.

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (front)

“Imagine it, one day your going about personally assisting, the next day your getting a call from a Turkish publisher saying they’d love to translate your novel.”

Apparently, according to Alison Moore, there are blueprint plans to transform the book into a film. The success story of The Lighthouse should act as an inspiration to all aspiring writers hoping to get published. Moore was working as a PA before the book was taken up by the small publishing firm SALT. Neither herself nor the publisher had foreseen the Man Booker Prize 2012 nomination. Imagine it, one day your going about personally assisting, the next day your getting a call from a Turkish publisher saying they’d love to translate your novel.

A dream come true.

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