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The Foghorn's Lament Reviews

The Foghorn's Lament by Jennifer Lucy Allan

The Foghorn's Lament: The Disappearing Music of the Coast

Jennifer Lucy Allan

Score pending

1 review

Category: Music, Non-fiction, History
Imprint: Orion Books Ltd
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 13 May 2021
ISBN: 9781474615037

Part memoir, part travelogue, part history of the foghorn: a uniquely ambitious new kind of nature book.

4 stars out of 5
30 Apr 2021

"(An) original and absorbing book, which is much more interesting than a study of foghorns has any right to be"

The Foghorn’s Lament is a book to file between memoirs of lighthouse keepers (“foghorn bagging” being a more niche strand of “lighthouse bagging”, where enthusiasts attempt to visit as many as possible) and books about music, expanding the definition by exploring the territory between music and noise.

Foghorns are now almost obsolete, superseded by GPS onboard vessels, and a backup system of beeping electronic fog sirens further out to sea. The death of the foghorn is linked to the demise of industry, thus the honks evoke nostalgia. The book is a lament for a disappearing way of life – numbers of former lighthouse keepers diminish each year – but also an appeal to listen deeply. It shows how there can be “a whole world to discover in just one sound”.