Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Story - The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between OceansI read The Light between Oceans by ML Stedman over the past couple of weeks. It's a beautifully written story about a lighthouse keeper, love, family, surviving war, making choices and living with the consequences. It's also about guilt.

It's set in WA in the 1920s in a small SW town with a lighthouse off shore on Janus Rock. I've been to Augusta and the lighthouse there, and the town and lighthouse in the book was so incredibly depicted, that I had to go searching the internet to find out if it was a true story - only to find it was a fictitious town and lighthouse, modelled on the one I'd visited.

View from Lighthouse
So I felt some kind of kinship to this book immediately because when we went to Augusta, I went real estate hunting. I've never done that before but i wanted to live there. It was wild, isolated, and ruggedly beautiful. Mr E tolerated my craziness for a time but then drove me away! I've attached some of my photos from the area.
The story is about decisions and repercussions. It's incredibly sad but also uplifting, which I know is a strange thing to be. But some of the decisions are so easily taken, have such disastrous effects, yet there's a beauty in seeing the tale unfold.
Where two oceans meet
The lighthouse keeping work is fascinating. I'd love to have worked as a lighthouse keeper but I wonder if I could have handled the total isolation and the constant demands of the light - and I know I'd have struggled with those early starts! But the beauty of the job, the rhythm of the ocean, the importance of the light, all appeal to me.

As a debut novel, this is truly awe-inspiring. It shows such a depth of thought, a mastery of the art of story telling, and a skill with language. These are the kind of books that make me wonder what I'm doing writing - they freeze me up, make me doubt, just make my writing look like crap. I think I complained about it last week, without mentioning the book!
Lighthouse cottages from window
I borrowed the book from a friend but I think I might need my own copy. It's something I'd like to read again. I struggled finding time to read this story, so I did it in fits and starts. I like to fall totally into the story, and read it in a great glob. I want to do that. I want to be taken back to Augusta and swept into the 1920s job of lighthouse keeping.

The Lighthouse


  1. You went real estate hunting right in my neck of the woods... Augusta is great - I agree. We go down there quite often with the kids. They've been up the lighthouse (hubby had to carry Mr 4). We were there again over the last school hols, but didn't climb it this time. They call Augusta "God's Waiting Room" and Margaret River is "God's Own Country"... I'm not sure what that makes Cowaramup (where I live) maybe, Cow's Own Country.

    I had no idea Light Between The Oceans was based in WA (let alone Augusta).
    I always learn things here!

    1. I'm so glad I'm the fount of all sorts of 'vital' information like this ;)

      Oh, I can see why we get along - Augusta too. We sometimes have very similar tastes, hey?

      Cate xox