Details about The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex – When Jory opens the curtains, the day is light and grey, the radio playing a half-known song. He listens to the news, about a girl who’s gone missing from a bus stop up north, and drinks from a mug of brown tea. Poor Mother’s beside herself – well, she would be. Short hair, short skirt, big eyes, that’s how he pictures the girl, shivering in the cold, and an empty bus stop where someone should have stood, waving or drowning, and the bus pulls up and away, never the wiser, and the pavement shines on in the black rain.
The sea is quiet, with the glass-like quality that comes after bad weather. Jory unlatches the window and the fresh air is very nearly solid, an edible thing, clinking between the trawler cottages like an ice cube in a drink. There’s nothing like the smell of the sea, nothing close: briny, clean, like vinegar kept in the fridge. Today it’s soundless. Jory knows loud seas and silent seas, heaving seas and mirror seas, seas where your boat feels like the last blink of humankind on a roll so determined and angry that you believe in what you don’t believe in, such as the sea being that halfway thing between heaven and hell, or whatever lies up there and whatever lurks down deep. A fisherman told him once about the sea having two faces. You have to take the both, he said, the good and the bad, and never turn your back on either one of them.