The Lightkeeper's Daughter Hardcover – Sept. 10 2002
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- Publisher : Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Sept. 10 2002)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0385729251
- ISBN-13 : 978-0385729253
- Item Weight : 431 g
- Dimensions : 14.66 x 2.34 x 21.67 cm
Best Sellers Rank:
#4,533,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #54,796 in Literature & Fiction for Young Adults
- Customer Reviews:
Iain Lawrence makes a striking shift in this book from the swashbuckling action of his seagoing trilogy, The Wreckers, The Smugglers, and The Buccaneers, to a contemplative story only gradually revealed in bits and pieces through the memories of the four principals. The harsh but seductive beauty of the island and its limitation on their lives is subtly portrayed in this book that will be enjoyed by older girls who are willing to accept its thoughtful pace. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top reviews from Canada
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"Hannah, Squid, and Alastair sat on the rocks as sharp as nails. 'This is the byssus,' said Murray, spreading with his fingers the cottony threads that held the mussel to its rock. 'It's spun by a gland in the animal's foot. He lashes himself in place like Ulysses to his mast.' "He turned the shell in his hand. It was a California mussel, nearly eight inches long. He pointed out the scars along the shell, like patches of white on its deep purple back. 'This fellow,' he said, 'has had some sort of an accident. He might have been wacked by a log.' The scars were deep, and Murray picked at the grooves with his nails. 'The poor brute almost bought it there. Must have got the fright of his life.'
" 'How old is he?' asked Alistair.
" 'Hard to say.' Murray bounced the mussel in his palm. 'He's an old-timer, all right. They grow like weeds in the beginning; more than three inches the first year. But then they slow down, and this one's lived on the island maybe as long as I have.' "
Imagine being Murray and Hannah's kid: growing up on an island, learning how to swim before you walk, working with your parents for a few hours in the morning, and then having the rest of the day for exploring, reading, playing, dreaming, and listening to your father rhapsodize about the mysteries of the plant and animal kingdoms around you. Hop into a glass-bottomed rowboat he's built, paddle out into the water as you observe the creatures below, and then stow the oars as whales breach and blow alongside you.
Hungry? Need a new book? Don't worry! Supply ships come by the island every month so that you've got plenty of food, fuel, supplies, clothes, and books to read.
There is a downside, however.
Throughout the years of growing up, the only human contact that you have outside of your parents and sibling are those monthly supply ships and the voices of the other lightkeepers over the radio system, reporting the weathers every few hours.
THE LIGHTKEEPER'S DAUGHTER is the story of Squid (Elizabeth) and Alistair growing up on remote Lizzie Island, off the coast of British Columbia. It is told looking back, four years after Alistair had drowned, when seventeen year-old Squid brings her three year-old daughter to the island for the first time. It is a mysterious and taut tale about what went so terribly wrong with their idyllic existence on the island.
" 'Humpbacks sing,' said Murray. 'Did you know that?'
"She shook her head.
" 'Each year one of them starts a song. Then others pick it up; they lengthen it and change it.' He spoke softly--he always did--looking out to sea and not at her. 'By the middle of summer they all know the song. They sing in a chorus over hundreds of miles.'
"She leaned her head against his shoulder. She could feel him breathing, and she tried to do what the whales were doing, and time her breath to his.
" 'No one knew,' said Murray. 'Until the war. Then someone put a microphone in the water, hoping to hear submarines. They heard this singing instead. And they didn't know what the hell it was.' "She pressed herself against him. She was shivering, but he didn't notice.
" 'I don't understand it,' he said.
" 'The song?' she asked.
"He shook his head. 'Och, we'll never understand that. I mean how men could kill them.'
" 'No,' she said.'
"He sighed. 'They're wonderful things, whales are. They're miraculous.' "
This is a story that is haunting and bittersweet, a setting that is utterly entrancing. Murray has no use for civilization--he hasn't been off of the island since leaving school and taking over from the last lightkeeper. Hannah washed up on the shore a couple of decades after Murray arrived. The kids soon followed. Bit by bit the two children and their mother reveal the secrets of their lives with Murray, a barnacle of a man who has a life or death grip on the island. My own head will remain cemented to Lizzie Island and these characters for some time to come.
it started out all right. i thought the daughter who didn't talk was a little weird, but not that much. Squid, the mother, got on my neveres cause she acted like a child half the time, but at 17 she is a child. however, she sees herself grown up enough to raise a kid and get married. Squid's father annoyed me right off the bat and just went down hill from there. I swer if he said "ooouch" (or whatever it was he keep saying) one more time, i was going to burn the novel.
the main reason to read the book? to find out what happened to Alsitar, but even that wasn't all exciting. while the father takes the most blame, everyone except the mute daughter was at fault, even alsitar himself. the one person i liked in the book? squaid's mom. she seemed normal.
this book all has quiet a few plot holes, but i wont go over them here. Overall? a zero in my book.
Growing up on the remote Lizzie Island and as a lightkeeper's daughter, Squid could swim before she could walk, and had only met 50 people in her entire 17 years. Squid returns to the island after three years separation with her three year old daughter Tatiana in tow. The reunion is painful, and redeeming, much of it bringing back memories of accidental or perhaps suicidal drowning of Squid's brother Alistar, and of Squid's pregancy from a lone kyaker when she was 13 years old. Much of the conflict in this story stems from the death of Alistar and how each member of the family deals with the regret, guilt, and loss, and from the difficulties and beauty of living daily with isolation and often violent nature.
I loved this book, and think it would be a wonderful read for the older thoughtful teen reader. I thought the rating as a 14+ teen novel was misleading as the slow poetic pace and thought provoking nature of the book might not capture the attention of the average teen. But, the gift in this book for me was truly the beautiful langugage Lawrence weaves throught out the story...The descriptions of the sea and rugged beauty of the island were truly captivating.
Top reviews from other countries
Set on a small island near Prince Rupert, Canada, it's told in the present day with flashbacks to 3 years earlier and events leading up to the untimely and unexpected death of Alistair, Squid's brother. As the story progresses you find out more about the family dynamics and life on a remote, isolated island. I just never felt this reached it's full potential. It did however remind me of a couple of other books I've read with lighthouses and islands as a main ingredient of the story, namely "The Light between Oceans" by Stedman and "Night Waking" by Sarah Moss, both of which I would thoroughly recommend and both adult novels.