by Marie-Haude Azur
Allen & Unwin. Non-fiction. Hardback rrp $45.00
There is something wonderfully romantic about lighthouses – they conjure up a sense of history, of souls lost at sea and the eerie beauty of a beam of light threading its way through the fog. Not to mention my secret desire to holiday in one.
Lighthouses of the World is divided into the continents of the world. Each lighthouse selected is showcased with a breathtaking photograph (no exaggeration necessary) and accompanied by a brief overview of the location, building light and sometimes, history. Most lighthouses have an anecdote to tell – some tragic and some just a little creepy. In the Flannan Islands three lighthouse keepers just disappeared! No bodies ever found.
The lighthouses span an amazing range of architecture and colour – a surprising number were bright red. Their keepers were often unusual or eccentric. Lawrence of Arabia once applied to be a lighthouse keeper.
I found two favourites. On a rocky outcrop in the Adriatic Sea, the Porer Lighthouse (Croatia) is available for rent. I wish. And at Muckle Flugga in the Shetland Archipelago (Scotland) I found the lighthouse by Robert Louis Stevenson’s father and uncle. How many adventure stories were imagined there? This is a book where truly ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’
A magical addition to any coffee table or library. The author recommends a visit to the Lighthouse Directory www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse. And so do I.