This is the other Booker-nominated book about a man who embarks on a trek, and ruminates about his life and his disappointments. The similarities with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry stop there though. Here, the story is about the lighthouse, and those it warns. Or beckons. The tale is prefaced with a quote from Muriel Spark's short story "The Curtain Blown by the Breeze': "she became a tall lighthouse sending out kindly beams which some took for welcome instead of warnings against the rocks"
. (I found a pdf of the short story at Waterstones http://www.waterstones.com/wat/images/special/pdf/9780857862273.pdf ). This sets the tone for the rest of the book. There is a faint air of malevolence, of unease, that permeates the book. It is quiet but incessant. The story of Futh's week-long hike is told in fragments alternating with the stories of several people he encounters. We visit his memories on his journey, and also visit the backstories and memories of the other characters. The story builds inexorably, pulling together slowly and skillfully.
It continues to steep in my mind, and I like it more and more as I look back through the book and see how Moore constructed the story. It's a marvel how she managed to so tightly control the tone and atmosphere.