The Lighthouse is the story of a wounded sixteen-year-old Republican guard in the Spanish Civil War called Francisco, who is trying to flee to freedom by crossing the French border. During his escape, he is passes out from his injuries and awakes to find himself in an unknown bed, bandaged up. After some looking about he finds that he is at an old remote lighthouse being cared for by Telmo, the ageing operator of the lighthouse.
As Francisco recuperates, the two share their pasts, with Telmo's tales of discovered worlds unknown reigniting some desire in the young soldier. With a friendship blooming, Francisco helps Telmo with the building of a boat to carry themselves across the waters to the wonderful island of Laputa that Telmo talks about in his stories. Fransisco lightens up as the book goes on before he discovers that everything isn't as it seems (we will avoid spoilers).
Like the cover, the art inside the book is three-tone - black, white and light blue that is almost grey - which pull together to form a fantastic look that is clear and compliments the writing. And like the cover, the art inside is just as good.
The only thing to really dislike about the book is its length - it's only digest sized (234 x 157 mm) and 64 pages long. Whilst it’s a brilliant and interesting read, when you’re finished you’re left feeling like it could have been fleshed out more. You want to see more building of the friendship between the two characters, more tales told.
That's just a small gripe though, as the story is a powerful tale delivered with deceptive gentleness and beguiling grace. The book was originally written in Spanish, and so comes with a lengthy prose postscript that is packed with sketches and production art – revealing how the author is afflicted with Post-Release Meddling Syndrome each time a new or fresh foreign edition is announced.
This short, captivating story is a true delight and one that you would happily read again.
The Lighthouse will be published on February 17th 2017 and is available for pre-order now from turnaround-uk.