Author: M. L. Stedman [Random House Books Australia][AustLit] aka Margot L. Stedman
Length: 343 pages
Obtained: Library "book club kit" book
Why this book?:
This is my grandmother's book club (perhaps I should call it my book club by now) current selection.
The first part of the book leads up to some life altering decisions. You get to know Tom (better, apparently, then many in his life). How he got to where he is as the new attendant of the Janus lighthouse. And I grew to like Tom. He was one of those steadfast solid types. The ones that take the pressure and just keep bearing up. He's been through a lot in his past, but he's living his (rather secluded) life day to day. He gets married, continues to care for the Janus lighthouse...
And the an event happens, and the decisions that are made... well. The struggle regarding right and wrong is incredibly tough. Tom has to make a decision and then he has to live with the consequences of it. He struggles with his conscience for YEARS about his decision. And I struggled too. What is right? What is wrong? And for who? And while I saw a clear line that I would follow, I also could understand that circumstances make that line much less clear for others.
My mind would occasionally look for something to compare this to as I was reading. This moral ambiguity. And I started to remember parts of Crime and Punishment. Have you read that? I did in high school. I was one of the few in my class who liked it (as opposed to Wuthering Heights which I strongly disliked while others loved it). That's my closest comparison in the feeling. This is wrong. But is it also right or at least okay?
Anyway, Tom (and the reader) are on a tense moral tightrope, with periodic moments of forgetfulness but no real relief...
And then I was sobbing for pretty much the whole second half of the book. No lie. My eyes are still puffy as I write this. Because consequences can be so painful. And when you toss love in (especially the love for family) and consider that character I described Tom as having... you know, bearing the pressure (and in this case the consequences)? Well it all got to me.
So in the end, my feelings are just as mixed about the overall book and it's ending as they were throughout the story. I assure you, this is not the type of book I read on my own. But the writing was very good. And I suppose I need to read this type of book occasionally. Right?