I tried really hard to get into The Light Between Oceans, really tried to give this a fair chance since it’s not the type of book I would normally read. I think I got about a third of the way before I just couldn’t anymore. It’s a war fiction about Tom Sherbourne, who after returning from WWI, begins to work in lighthouses. He gets transferred to another little town and there he falls in love with Isabel. They move to the lighthouse where he works, isolated from the rest of the population, the couple try to have children, but have been unable to. One day a boat washes ashore with a baby in it and they adopt her. When they go back to the mainland, they realize that there are other people, and one in particular, who have been devastated by their decision to keep the baby.
Of what I read before I gave up, these little gems about life and death and what happens after stood out to me:
- there had never been guarantee that conception would lead to a live birth, or that birth would lead to a life of any great length.
- like the wheat fields where more grain is sown than can ripen, God seemed to sprinkle extra children about, and harvest them according to some indecipherable, divine calendar.
- later still, the war memorials would sprout from the earth, dwelling not on the loss, but on what the loss had won, and what a fine thing it was to be victorious. “Victorious and dead,” some muttered, “is a poor sort of victory.”
- “You treat the light right and she won’t give you any trouble,” said Whittnish. “All you need is patience and a bit of nous.”
- he must return to something solid, because if he didn’t, who knew where his mind or soul could blow away to, like a balloon without ballast.
- that evening, as he looked out from the gallery, Tom returned to his question. where had this baby’s soul been? Where would it go? Where were the souls of the men who’d joked and saluted and trudged through the mud with him?
The concept of it sounds really interesting, but for whatever reason, I could not get myself to get into this one. I’ll have to re-visit this at some point though.