Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Stargazing

Finished March 14
Stargazing: memoirs of a young lighthouse keeper by Peter Hill
This book won the Saltire Award, but that isn't why I bought it. Amazingly the title intrigued me enough to both by it and put it on a wish list. So I ended up with two copies (am now trying to think of who should be the lucky recipient of the second copy).
In the summer of 1973 in Scotland, Peter Hill was trying to figure out what to do with his life. He'd been at art school, but wasn't feeling that it led somewhere for him. He applied and was chosen to work on lighthouses for the summer.
His experiences with the work, the companionship of the other lighthouse keepers, the solitariness of life at a lighthouse and the connectness that lighthouse keepers have with each other all fed this book.
Hill brings the life alive, from the storytelling at shift changeovers, to the interesting habits of the various lighthouse keepers, to the tales of how they came to take the jobs are all enlightening.
Lighthousekeeping is a job like no other, and today it has all but disappeared with automation. Hill tells the story as a way of keeping that history alive, and he succeeds brilliantly.

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