From master storyteller Stephen King comes a spectacularly dark and riveting novel about addiction, religion, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.
In a small New England town more than half a century ago, a boy is playing with his new toy soldiers in the dirt in front of his house when a shadow falls over him. He looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Jamie learns later, who with his beautiful wife will transform the church and the town. The men and boys are a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls, with the Reverend Jacobs — including Jamie's sisters and mother. Then tragedy strikes, and this charismatic preacher curses God and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from age 13, he plays in bands across the country, running from his own family tragedies, losing one job after another when his addictions get the better of him. Decades later, sober and living a decent life, he and Reverend Charles Jacobs meet again in a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and the many terrifying meanings of Revival are revealed.
King imbues this spectacularly rich and dark novel with everything he knows about music, addiction, and religious fanaticism and every nightmare we ever had about death. This is a masterpiece from King in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.
About Stephen King
Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. He made his first professional short story sale in 1967 to Startling Mystery Stories. In the fall of 1973, he began teaching high school English classes at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels. In the spring of 1973, Doubleday & Co., accepted the novel Carrie for publication, providing him the means to leave teaching and write full-time. He has since published over 50 books and has become one of the world's most successful writers.
Stephen lives in Maine and Florida with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. They are regular contributors to a number of charities including many libraries and have been honored locally for their philanthropic activities.
The debut of a stunning new voice in fiction— a novel both heartbreaking and transcendent
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
M. L. Stedman’s mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel’s decision to keep this “gift from God.” And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another’s tragic loss.
The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.
‘There are times when the ocean is not the ocean – not blue, not even water, but some violent explosion of energy and danger: ferocity on a scale only gods can summon. It hurls itself at the island, sending spray right over the top of the lighthouse, biting pieces off the cliff. And the sound is a roaring of a beast whose anger knows no limits. Those are the nights the light is needed most.’
‘The Light Between Oceans’ is a historical fiction story with a dash of enough ‘contemporary lit’ to keep both fans of the genres entertained. This is the story of Tom Sherbourne and his wife Isabel who together made a tough decision years back but are only now being confronted with the fact that their decision was life-changing and unknowingly had a drastic impact on someone else’s life.
The story starts off one-sided telling the story of Isabel and Tom and the boat carrying a dead man and a baby just a few months old that they found washed up on the shores of Janus Rock. When on leave from Janus, Isabel and Tom discover the truth that Lucy’s mother, Hannah, is still alive. Her side of the story is finally told and it’s revealed just how Lucy came to be in a boat washed up on shore. Both sides of the story are truly heart-breaking and good luck trying to determine a ‘side’. Isabel has lost 3 children after 2 miscarriages and 1 stillbirth and fears that she will never be able to mother a child like she’s also dreamed of. After learning about Hannah, Isabel becomes resolved to continuing life as they have been because she feels it’s far too late to do anything at this point. Tom is not as easily convinced but doesn’t wish to take Isabel’s ‘only child’ and doesn’t want to take Lucy away from the only life she’s ever known. Isabel nor Tom can be easily painted wrong. I was mesmerized at how this heartbreaking tale could possibly end.
‘Time and again, Tom wondered at the hidden recesses of Isabel’s mind – the spaces where she managed to bury the turmoil his own mind couldn’t escape.’
The writing was quite beautiful despite the beginning being pretty slow going with all the details of Tom’s army days and his days alone on the island before Isabel joined him. There were also some detailed sections regarding the lighthouse and the upkeep and the overall importance of them. It didn’t go overboard with the details either but gave you enough detail to keep it interesting. So why only 3 stars? I was completely wrapped up in this story and couldn’t put it down, but then I’m not quite sure where exactly, but it veered into what I like to call ‘Lifetime movie territory’. Doesn’t mean the story went bad or anything but it just lost me a bit with the overabundance of drama. It seemed inevitable how this story would and should end and it felt like it was drawn out too much. Intriguing story, yes, but wasn’t anything that necessarily blew me away.
The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds' third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the "first step" American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised "the charm and beauty of the writing," as well as Fitzgerald's sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald's "best work" thus far. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
This is the definitive, textually accurate edition of The Great Gatsby, edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and authorized by the estate of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The first edition of The Great Gatsby contained many errors resulting from Fitzgerald's extensive revisions and a rushed production schedule, and subsequent editions introduced further departures from the author's intentions. This critical edition draws on the manuscript and surviving proofs of the novel, along with Fitzgerald's later revisions and corrections, to restore the text to its original form. It is The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald intended it.
One of the great classics of the 20th century… well, a statement like that will definitely get anyone interested in reading it. Many of you read this in school, but naturally I missed out on this one as well. This one is not only on the BBC Book List but the 1001 books to read before you die.
’For a moment the last sunshine fell with romantic affection upon her glowing face; her voice compelled me forward breathlessly as I listened – then the glow faded, each light deserting her with lingering regret like children leaving a pleasant street at dusk.’
I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of F. Scott Fitzgerald; it was by far the best part of the book. I had a major disconnect with the characters as I found them to be quite shallow and pretentious. The whole story seemed off for me, but I think that was just the overall oddness of the characters themselves. My impression going into this book was that it was to be a great love story… how Gatsby loved Daisy but the war came between them. Daisy, becoming tired of waiting for Gatsby to return, marries Tom who’s a loaf of a man that cheats on her quite openly.
Now I understand this is a book not set in the 20th century and women were supposed to all be stay out home mothers who took care of the house and the children and kept their mouths shut so I naturally didn’t expect her to get fed up with his cheating and hit him over the head with a dinner plate, but I really did expect more. By the end, it all felt a tad anticlimactic and there was a resounding ‘So… what was the point?’ floating through my head.
All in all, I’m glad to have read it so I can now say that I’ve read it, but that it’s definitely not going down as one of my faves.