Cover image for Harbor lights : a novel
Harbor lights : a novel
Weesner, Theodore.
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Publication Information:
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
234 pages ; 20 cm
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When a Maine lobster fisherman is diagnosed with a rapidly developing cancer, he finds himself driven to make peace with his family and is forced to confront the compromises of his past.

Author Notes

Theodore Weesner, 1935-2015 Theodore Weesner was born in 1935 in Flint, Michigan. After serving in the army, he attended Michigan State University and the University of Iowa. He taught at Emerson College in Boston. He was best-known for his straightforward account of the juvenile delinquent, Alex, in The Car Thief. His other books included: The True Detective, Novemberfest, and harbor Lights.

Weesner died on June 25, 2015 of congestive heart failure. He was 79.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Maine lobsterman Warren Hudon, the only boy in his high-school class to own his own business, seemed like a good catch to Beatrice. Marriage and a daughter followed, but then Beatrice became assistant to state legislator Virgil Pound. Even though Virgil was married, he and Beatrice became lovers, even as Warren looked on, first in anger and eventually with frustrated acceptance. Warren and Beatrice's daughter, Marian grew up confused, loving her father but finding Virgil's money and social skills more attractive than Warren's shy diffidence. Eventually, Warren is diagnosed with cancer and given only weeks to live. He hopes for reconciliation with Beatrice, but when she refuses, the result is disastrous. It's hard to like or even feel empathy with any of these characters, sad though they are. Beatrice and Virgil are shallow and self-centered, Warren self-pitying and vapid, and Marian whiny and immature. And yet this dark tale of love and revenge has undeniable power, the result of Weesner's spare, understated, yet compelling prose, effectively juxtaposed against buried passions and simmering anger. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Though sensitively and intelligently composed, Weesner's story of a terminally ill Maine lobsterman who seeks to rectify a life gone wrong is finally stifled by its gloomy premise. Warren Hudon has been diagnosed with a particularly deadly form of cancer and has only a short time to live. He has accumulated very little in his 57 years, but he must quickly dispense with his meager belongings and decide how best to take leave of his family. His marriage is a sham: although he and his wife, Beatrice, live under the same roof, she has openly been carrying on an affair with Senator Virgil Pound for years, and she and Warren barely speak. Warren's daughter Marian works in the department store her mother runs, and she has taken her mother's side in the family split. It is only as the novel nears its end that she begins to reconsider Warren's positionÄbut by then it is too late. Deep down, Warren still hopes for reconciliation with Beatrice, but when he realizes their marriage never had a chance, he chooses to settle his accounts on earth with a stupidly violent act that only drives him further away from redemption. As Warren, Beatrice, Marian and Virgil take turns telling the story, their distinctive voicesÄfrom Warren's mournful tones to Beatrice's subtle blend of ambition, power and rageÄpoignantly express the dynamics of their relationships. At times, the novel sings with a poetic simplicity that recalls Russell Banks or Carolyn Chute. It falters, however, when Weesner (author of the praised The Car Thief) eschews showing for telling, and when Warren's morbid outlook grows so relentless that it strains belief. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This is a beautifully written, harrowing novel about a marriage gone terribly wrong. Set in southern Maine, the novel features protagonist Warren Hudson, a lobster fisherman who continues to live in a loveless, bitter marriage of convenience, hoping that he and his wife of over 35 years may some day reconcile. Blinded by desperate love and irrational hope, Warren cannot see that his wife, Beatrice, is hopelessly lost to him. Beatrice has openly conducted a 30-year affair with a powerful, handsome married man, Sen. Virgil Pound. She has only stayed with Warren to preserve Virgil's public reputation and political viability. This is a powerful novel about agonizing choices and heartbreaking truths that vividly dramatizes the consequences of not courageously and honestly facing those truths. Enthusiastically recommended for all libraries.--Patrick Sullivan, Manchester Community Coll., CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.