Memoirs of A Young Lighthouse Keeper

Book - 2004
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Peter Hill was nineteen, it was 1973 and, with his head fed by Vietnam, Zappa, Kerouac, Vonnegut, Watergate, Hendrix, and Coronation Street, he was to spend the next six months working on various remote lighthouses off the west coast of Scotland. Working with all manner of unusual and fascinating people, learning the habits and lore of the lighthouse and its crew, and experiencing a way of life that was soon to disappear altogether, Hill's account of his career as a relief lighthouse keeper is a beautifully written memoir that succeeds in being both of its time and yet somehow timeless. He evokes the early seventies with remarkable clarity and a great deal of humour, conjuring up the excitement of that period and all its cultural richness. But the book is also a heartfelt lament, not only for his youth and innocence but also for the erosion of other values in society at large, values symbolised in the romantic and solid image of the lighthouse and all that it stands for.
Publisher: Toronto [Ont.] : McArthur & Co., 2004.
ISBN: 9781552784112
Branch Call Number: 387.155 HIL
Characteristics: 275 pages ;,22 cm


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Cdnbookworm Mar 15, 2011

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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