Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication Date: August 11, 2020
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Ethan McQuarry is a young lighthouse keeper on a tiny island, the rugged outcropping of easternmost Cape Breton Island on the Atlantic Ocean. A man without any family, he sees himself as a silent vigilant, performing his duties courageously year after year, with an admirable sense of responsibility.
He cherishes his solitude and is grateful that his interactions with human beings are rare. Even so, he is haunted by his aloneness in the world and by a feeling that his life is meaningless. His courage, his integrity, his love of the sea and wildlife, of practical skills and of learning are, in the end, not enough. He is faced with internal storms and sometimes literal storms of terrifying power.
From time to time he becomes aware that messengers are sent to him from what he calls the awakeness in existence, the listeningness. But he cannot at first recognize them as messengers nor understand what they might be telling him, until he finds himself caught up in catastrophic events, and begins to see the mysterious undercurrents of reality--and the hidden face of love.
They that go down to the sea in ships, trading upon the waters, they see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep. - Psalm 107: 23
Michael O'Brien, born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1948 is a well-known writer on religion and culture. His essays have appeared in several international journals and anthologies concerned with these topics, urging the people of the Western world to examine the negative effects of materialism, and to rediscover authentic spiritual sources in the absolutes of the Christian faith.
Both his written work and visual art have been reviewed and reproduced widely. He is an author of several books, notably his seven volume series of novels published by Ignatius Press of San Francisco. The first volume, Father Elijah, published in 1996, has sold more than 40,000 copies in hardcover, and subsequent novels have also sold well.
One becomes intimately attached to Ethan, the lighthouse keeper, his story, his thoughts, inner struggles, and developing character, skills and sanctity over the swiftly flying years. And with interspersed “aha! moments”, all is so finely crafted and beautifully woven together with love that one can hardly avoid feeling part of the movements of the protagonist’s very human and courageous soul. To read it is a gift to the self.