Title: The Light In The Dark
Writer: Horatio Clare
Publishing House: Elliott & Thompson
Date of Publication: November 1st 2018
Rating: 5 stars
‘’Winter in the mountains is arresting in its drama, the light melting over the Brecon Beacons as though it carries cold in it, not heat. There are the lakes of mist, too, the sun riding high over the bracken-red ridges as they surface through pearlescent cloud, heaving up like whales. Winter by the sea is another kind of theatre, like standing in a great and empty auditorium.’’
It is very difficult, almost impossible to convey the feelings and thoughts born from reading this book. ‘’Book’’? No, this isn’t the proper word this time. This is an ode to winter in its most sinister form, in all its wildness, harshness, in its darkest moments. An elegy for lives broken and united, lost and gained, in the heart of the British cold that is beautiful and ferocious, haunting and heartless. These are the musings, the memories of a charismatic man, a talented writer who pours his soul in the pages with bravery and tenderness.
The dangers that threaten people and livestock. The menacing darkness, the isolation. The beautiful scenery painted in white, grey and cobalt blue. The joy of Christmas, the chance for the family to be together during the long nights. A confused, misinformed society that tries to predict the unknown ‘’winter’’ brought about by the absurd Brexit. The monsters of depression, the hopelessness, and pain that seem to become more acute once temperatures plummet, Clare shares his fears and insecurities, the love for his family and his students and discovers that winter can be loved and enjoyed even in its most vicious form.
This is not a pleasant read. Quality books are NOT pleasant. It isn’t a hymn to the romantic white of winter. It is a cry and a song, an atmospheric, haunting and powerful account of a human being that could have been our father, our partner, our friend. The depiction of how tiny we stand when facing Mother Nature. If you love winter, you will come to love the beautiful and fierce season even more after reading The Light In The Dark. If you don’t call winter your favourite season, you might reconsider. This is what Horatio Clare did. His confession will stay with you long after you let your wander in the last paragraph.
No more of my blabbering. The following extracts speak for themselves:
‘’Over the western plain the sky was clear; as we approached Manchester we came under a dark bar of cloud. Now, as we close with the fingers of the moors, the windows of the foothill towns are lighting and there is a peace in the glooming valleys, a drawing – in as the earth turns us and night comes down from the wild tops as if drawn to the warmth of our settlements.’’
‘’Now the power cuts. I dash out to see if it is just us – but it is the world, the world transformed, released into darkness, moonlight, stars and frost. It is the first time I have ever seen our valley as it is in itself at night. Under a half-moon, with the hills’ backs sprinkled with stars, its character has entirely changed. The dark no longer hunches around the few street lights. It is dimly luminous, stretching and languid, the moonlight a soft sweeping, rounding and gentling the ridges. The constriction of the valley is gone, the silvered fields wide under the mantling moon.’’