Saturday, August 13, 2016
To this life, Tom brings a young, vivacious, and loving wife, but years pass, and after two miscarriages and a stillbirth, Tom sees that the wife he loves more than life itself is wasting away before his eyes. One morning while tending those tiny graves, Isabel hears a baby's cry on the wind. It is not her imagination. A boat has washed ashore. Aboard are a dead man and a tiny living baby girl.
No one has taken better care of the Janus Rock Lighthouse than Tom Sherbourne. Everything gleams; every bit of machinery runs smoothly; and his records are meticulous. Tom is an intensely moral man, and he wants to report the man and infant immediately, but Isabel has taken the baby and clings to her like a drowning woman to a life raft. Against his better judgment, the incident is not reported, and Tom and Isabel claim the baby as their own and name her Lucy. For Isabel, life is idyllic for two years. Then leave is granted, and the family of three return to shore where they are reminded that there are other people in the world, and their decision has ruined the life of one of them.
You would never dream that The Light Between Oceans is a debut novel. The isolated setting of Janus Rock is indelibly drawn: the wind, the birds wheeling in the air, the crashing of the waves, the steady brilliance of the light at night. The sights, the scents, the sounds-- they all live in the mind as do the streets and the inhabitants of the small town of Partageuse where Isobel's parents live, and where Tom, Isabel and Lucy spend their infrequent leave.
It's impossible to read this book and not become totally drawn in by the characters: the withdrawn and haunted Tom, the bold and laughing Isabel, and all the people who call Partageuse home. It was also impossible for me to read this book and not to choose sides. One of the major images of the book is this meeting of opposites. Janus Rock stands where the warm Indian and cold Antarctic Oceans meet. It's where the taciturn Tom and the ebullient Isabel live. It's where a brilliant light flashes continuously throughout the dark nights. It's where a bad decision is made for all the right reasons. The town of Partageuse continues the image.
I was completely caught up in Stedman's story. I was staunchly in Tom's camp, and I wanted to shake sense into Isabel, but these are not one-dimensional characters, and as the story progressed, I finally put away my outraged sense of right and wrong and let wave after wave of consequences toss me onto the rocks. All I could do was watch... and feel my heart break for these people.
You won't find any easy answers in The Light Between Oceans, but you will find a beautifully written and sensitively told story about people who make mistakes and learn to live with the aftermath. I highly recommend this book.
Posted by Unknown at 10:32 PM
Even in her limited world, she has been able to see the spiritual where most of us cannot. That she spent the full publisher's price infuriated me but then I stopped to think about the genuineness of her generosity and love she has for her older brother, I decided to graciously accept her gift.
The Alchemist is a simple story which some might refer to as a fable. It is however the story of a boy, Santiago, who search for the meaning of a dream which hopes to lead him to a treasure. It is the story of one finding his/her Personal Legend (roughly destiny and/or meaning for life).
The book emphasizes the reason for each living in the now as opposed to one's past or future. This is often a difficult task but a profound spiritual experience when fully accomplished because in that now moment we experience ourselves and get a glimpse of God. This book however is not a religious book because as the author advised religion provides the discipline for the community experience in its devotion to God.
I had to look up exactly what an alchemist was, as I was always informed he was a pseudo-chemist who always tried to turn lead into gold, but this is a rather shallow definition and one that will be better defined by reading this exquisite book.
The alchemist in this book is more like the "Desert Fathers" who fled to the desert in search of God and the meaning of life. It is most interesting how three of the world's largest religions have their roots in the desert. What is it about the desert and communion it allows with our maker?
This book is a delight to read and very quick, though I have found myself reviewing past pages to understand fully the very simple message the author is conveying. This book can be read in one sitting very easily but I advise against it because it has a lingering flavor you want to savor.
I highly recommend this book for those that enjoy a compelling simple story and for those caught in the niche of other genres; I recommend it as a book to pull you back to your center.
Writing a review for book's that someday will be the tool for future study and analysis is an intimidating undertaking and I hope that I have not misinterpreted or offended the author who will be / is, one of the great authors of our time.
Posted by Unknown at 10:30 PM