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Description - Pharos by Alice Thompson

How could someone without memory be real at all? Without a memory what kind of a person was she? She was living in a limbo land. She was like a ghost.' A young woman is washed up onto the shores of a remote lighthouse island. She does not know who she is or how she got there. She has no memory. The keeper of the lighthouse and his assistant take her in and feed and clothe her. In classic ghost-story manner, she is not all what she seems and neither is the calm and peaceful island.Set at the time when the slave trade was at its height in the 1860s, Pharos is a vivid, expressionistic ghost story, a wonderful and haunting tale.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781860499531
ISBN-10: 1860499538
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 126mm x 9mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 6-Jun-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Pharos by Alice Thompson

Book Reviews - Pharos by Alice Thompson

US Kirkus Review » Scottish novelist Thompson (Pandora's Box, 1999, etc.) travels to a remote island where a lighthouse-keeper, a shipwreck survivor, and several ghosts try their best to get along. In 1826, for a retired seaman, lighthouse-keeping looked like a pretty cushy job. You got free rent, the work was easy, and almost all of your salary was clear profit. Cameron Black, the keeper at Jacob's Rock (a barren isle off the west coast of Scotland) was very happy there. The loneliness that everyone considered the hardest part of the life didn't bother Cameron: he was happy to spend his free hours studying the Bible, and he had lately been sent an assistant (Simon) to share his duties. Younger than Cameron, Simon was less used to the solitary life, but he adjusted to the routine and became a reliable companion. But their quiet bachelor existence changed overnight when Cameron discovered a young woman washed ashore on the beach. Nude (save for a locket around her neck), unconscious, and barely alive, the woman is nursed back to life but cannot recall who she is or how she got there. Cameron names her Lucia (the name of the ship pictured inside her locket) and decides to keep her on the island until she has recovered her wits. That doesn't promise to be any day soon: Lucia appears sane and manages to take charge of many of the household tasks, but she is prey to strange visions and hallucinations. She sees people (a ship captain, a mulatto girl) and things (an empty ship) that don't exist, and she hears distant voices crying out at night. Are these just the product of her confusion, or could they be the ghosts of the slaves kept there when the island was a secret outpost of the slave trade? And why won't Cameron let Lucia return to the mainland? In most ghost stories, you are sure at least of who is being haunted. Here it becomes murkier as you go along. A genuinely eerie tale, in a perfect setting and told with just the right amount of ambiguity. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Alice Thompson

Alice Thompson's first novel, Justine, was joint winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Her second, Pandora's Box, won a Scottish Arts Council Award. She lives in Edinburgh.

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