By the Ghost Light: Wars, Memory, and Families

Product Details
$28.00  $26.04
Knopf Canada
Publish Date
5.5 X 9.3 X 1.3 inches | 0.97 pounds

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About the Author
R.H. THOMSON has appeared in film and theatre across Canada, as Matthew Cuthbert in Anne With An E, in the movie Chloe directed by Atom Egoyan, as Marshall McLuhan in The Message by Jason Sherman and This Was The World by Ellie Moon. As well as being an advocate for the arts, R.H. has worked on many history/arts projects. For the First World War Centenary, he built The World Remembers-Le Monde Se Souvient, an international commemoration exhibit now installed at the Canadian War Museum - He is a Member of the Order of Canada and was awarded the Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
"Generous . . . unstuffy and inviting. . . . By the Ghost Light continues Thomson's work of commemoration and historicization, but it also exceeds the earlier efforts, thanks to his gift for storytelling. . . . An immense wholehearted book that is also unexpectedly about grief and the ability of language to 'contain the sorrow, ' to close wounds, and to help us avoid repeating mistakes." --The Literary Review of Canada

"Ambitious . . . astute. . . . Out of a resolve to unlearn our assumptions about war, Thomson tells a more nuanced narrative." --Quill and Quire

"Thought-provoking. . . . [By the Ghost Light is] a multi-layered book, which draws heavily on letters about the war experience, written by the author's relatives, as well as his own research. . . . A complex, fascinating, and passionate book that . . . never strays from the main theme of wars, memory, and families." --Times Colonist

"Part memoir, part history and part thoughtful exploration of the stories we tell to make sense of violent conflict, By the Ghost Light is an enlightening tour through the convolutions of history and the fickle nature of memory, both personal and cultural." --Stephen R. Bown

"A searing exploration of how war haunts families, communities, and countries. Thomson makes visible the ghosts of the Great War, untangling themes of loss and longing, service, and grief. Millions of Canadians have a family link to the war that raged from 1914 to 1918, and this literary meditation will provide new insight into the way that war bites to the bone from generation to generation." --Tim Cook

"Many of us of R.H.'s generation, grew up romanticizing war. That is until we were confronted with the sharp images, the gripping narratives, and the heartbreaking letters left behind by our parents and grandparents. But those touchstones of the past are only the beginning of the journey one travels in By the Ghost Light." --Peter Mansbridge

"By the Ghost Light is the perfect companion to R.H. Thomson's epic and inspired The World Remembers. Thomson weaves a moving family story with a global history that has shaped us all in deeply personal and vastly political ways." --Ann-Marie MacDonald

"As Ukraine burns and we face possibly the most dangerous decade since WW2, R.H. Thomson reminds us that every casualty in war is a human being with a life unfinished. And each loss becomes a precious story passed on through the ages, resonating through generations and shaping who we become. This book is a beautiful tribute to a family that suffered tremendous losses, but it's subtext warns of the consequences of war. And why enduring peace is imperative." --Carol Off

"This is a deeply moving meditation on war and how we live with the terrible scars it imposes upon us." --John Ralston Saul

"R.H. Thomson poses questions about how we remember the war-dead and how the stories we tell about them shape the possibility or impossibility of future peace. He has written a deeply personal and moving book, a profound work that helps us rethink our relationship with the past and points us to a better future." --Guy Vanderhaeghe

"By the Ghost Light reminds us that behind the numbers of dead we associate with war (4,000 Canadians at Passchendaele, 391 on D-Day, 158 in Afghanistan and 70+ suicides thereafter), there are brothers, fathers, daughters, grandmothers. Behind every single casualty of war there is a story, as well as a family who live the rest of their lives affected by what happened to the warrior, one way or another." --Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire