The Lighthouse is a graphic novel set during the Spanish Civil War. It tells the story of Francisco, a seventeen year old fighting for the Republican side, who is wounded and attempts to flee to an uncertain future in France. However, his wound slows him down and he is given shelter by Telmo, the keeper of an old lighthouse. While Francisco struggles with both physical and mental wounds, Telmo attempts to raise the young soldier’s spirits by telling him stories about distant lands beyond the sea, forging a friendship that entwines the fates of both men and sets them into motion.
The Lighthouse was first published in 2004. The 2017 English translation edition also contains The Eternal Rewrite, a 2009 afterword by author and illustrator Paco Roca, in which he reflects on the inspirations for his story as well as it’s creation.
The artwork throughout is both beautiful and distinct, and the style lends itself well to the pace of the story. The story itself I found excellent. It transcends it’s simplicity with a sort of ease that is uncommon in a story of this length—-at only 54 pages (not including the afterword, which is well worth reading), you may well find yourself slowing your reading to savor every last moment. The Lighthouse is a great quick read for adults, and I would also recommend it to sensible older children (say, pre-teen) provided that they have sensible parents.