It is the summer of 1917. Isaac Rosenberg has been on the Western Front for over a year, having barely survived a terrible winter on the Somme. Temporarily attached to the Royal Engineers, he helps to load barbed wire on limbers, hauls it by mule train up to the front at night, and repairs damage to barricades in no-man's land. Although highly dangerous, Rosenberg views his lot as much improved, and he finds more time to write. From his upbringing in the slums of Whitechapel, to his futile death in the killing fields of Europe, the author explores the evolution of a writer whose war poetry is now widely acknowledged as among the finest ever written. Paradoxically, while Rosenberg's physical and mental health were on the wane, his terrible experiences on the Western Front appeared to boost the power and originality of his work. Throughout the novel, the reader is given insight into the troubled psyche of a poet who, despite living in constant fear and subject to the contempt of his peers, still managed to retain a highly original perspective on mankind's descent into darkness.
"Beating for Light" blends fact and fiction in a way which moves beyond the biographical, breathing life into the fears and aspirations of a great artist while, simultaneously, providing a fascinating insight into one of history's greatest watersheds.
Geoff Akers was born in Peebles, Scotland in 1954, and studied at Aberdeen University where his interest in modern history and literature was fostered. He became particularly fascinated in poetry written during the First and Second World Wars and focused his honour's dissertation on the work of Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg. He taught English, History and drama for over fifteen years before giving up to become a full-time novelist. To date, he has written two novels - including, Beating for Light- and a number of short stories. He is currently writing a third novel centred on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Geoff is married and lives in Edinburgh.