Jeffrey Perren writes long novels with complicated plots and The Lighthouse Pylon is no exception.
After a dramatic opening chapter set in an historical context, the novel moves between two time frames: the nineteen thirties and the nineteen fifties. Some interesting period details are used to set the scenes along with clear chapter headings that guide the reader between the two eras.
The central character is Curl Hoyer who is introduced as a young man and then re-introduced in his middle age. He is a scientist who struggles to find his place in the scientific community and in society in general. The novel tells the story of his search for love while trying to find his niche in the world.
Over time Curl is involved with three women: Anna, Henne and Silke. The inter-connectedness between the three women is at the heart of the plot. Anna is highly intelligent and principled but much too young for Curl. Henne is manipulative and scheming; fortunately Curl realises this before it is too late but that leads him into a whole lot more difficulty. Silke is an elusive but genuine soul-mate if Curl doesn't muck things up. How Jeffrey Perren weaves these complex relationships together is a mystery but one which is explained, rather unexpectedly, in the end.
An interesting aspect of The Lighthouse Pylon is the juxtaposition of contemporary American English with an almost, at times, Dickensian vocabulary. This creates an effect of timeless commentary on social issues which adds depth to the overall structure of the novel.
The presence of the enigmatic lighthouse of the title recurs throughout the novel like another character. It even stays in the plot when Curl leaves America and re-locates to York, in England. The descriptions of the scenes in York and surrounding area are fascinating. I don't know if the author has visited the place or based his writing on research; either way he's successfully encapsulated the spirit of the place.
I've enjoyed reading all Jeffrey Perren's previous novels and I enjoyed reading The Lighthouse Pylon too.
You can get details of all his books on Jeffrey Perren's Author Page at Amazon and read my interview with him here if you follow this link. There's also a fascinating interview with Jeffrey Perren on another bookblog: Lizzie Loves Books.