The Lighthouse is richly detailed and beautifully told with many layers of history, viewpoints, and mysteries, each revealed and resolved with perfect timing. Kozak is a master of showing the characters’ inner lives and writing richly evocative scenes, such as when Leah first arrives at the Lighthouse, and “for a brief moment she felt her grandfather’s presence, like a muscle rippling under the grainy warmth of the structure’s adobe skin.”
Only two passages disappoint. The first is when, soon after Leah begins assimilating back into her family’s life, the narrative shifts to show the other family members’ histories and points of view, leaving readers wondering what’s happening in Leah’s life. The second arrives at a pivotal moment as Leah confronts a troubling person from her past; the scene and details are incomplete and rushed, making this crucial character seem two-dimensional, unlike the other fully rendered characters in the story.
Despite these lapses, The Lighthouse is a well-wrought, multi-generational family saga inhabited by people readers care about. Its tight plot, well-paced narrative, emotionally resonant characters, and rich language make it hard to put down.