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Lighthousekeepingby Jeanette Winterson
Synopses & Reviews
My mother called me Silver. I was born part precious metal, part pirate.
Orphaned and anchorless, Silver is taken in by blind Mr. Pew, the mysterious and miraculously old keeper of the Cape Wrath lighthouse. Pew tells Silver ancient tales of longing and rootlessness, of journeys that move through place and time, of passion and betrayal. His stories center on Babel Dark, a local nineteenth-century clergyman who lived two lives: a public one mired in darkness and a private one bathed in a beacon of light. Pew's stories are, for Silver, a map through her own particular darkness, into her own story and, finally, into love.
With Lighthousekeeping, Winterson begins a new cycle and a return to the lyrical intimacy of her earliest work. One of the most original and extraordinary writers of her generation, Winterson has created a modern fable about the transformative power of storytelling.
"It's hard to believe that Winterson's latest novel is even more lightweight than her previous one, The PowerBook, but here an orphan's romantic memories of growing up in a Scottish lighthouse are stretched to the limit with coy aphorisms. When her mother is blown away — literally possible on the savage Atlantic coast of Salts, Scotland — young Silver is sent to live with the lighthouse keeper at Cape Wrath, kind blind old Pew, who spins yarns, especially one about an early minister of Salts, Babel Dark, a Jekyll-and-Hyde type who's acquainted with contemporaries Darwin and Robert Louis Stevenson, and who cruelly betrays the woman he loves twice. When Silver grows up, Pew is discharged from his lighthouse duties in the name of progress, and trusty Silver sets off to look for him, ending up in Capri obsessed with a talking bird. Winterson attempts several stories within stories, switching narrators frequently, and relies heavily on the metaphor of storytelling as elucidation. While Dark's hubris is duly gothic, and the fondness between Silver and Pew touching, the narrative overall feels weightless, without cohesion or fixed purpose. Some of Winterson's off-kilter reflections on love and storytelling are striking, but too many have become convenient truisms: 'A beginning, a middle and an end is the proper way to tell a story. But I have difficulty with that method.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A brilliant, glittering piece of work, the kind that makes you gasp out loud at the sheer beauty of the language." The Times Literary Supplement
"...Winterson's fables-within-a-fable turn into a bewitching demonstration of the power of storytelling, the force that defines the self and links us to the past and each other." Booklist
"Uneven work from this always provocative writer." Kirkus Reviews
"Lighthousekeeping isn't a novel to dismiss, but it doesn't have the power of Winterson's best work." Seattle Times
"Winterson weaves a beautiful and coherent tapestry....[S]he achieves a quality that justly can be called visionary." Los Angeles Times
"As usual, Winterson has delivered memorable characters..." Miami Herald
Winterson begins a new cycle and a return to the lyrical intimacy of her earliest works. One of the most original and extraordinary writers of her generation, Winterson, in Lighthousekeeping, has created a modern fable about the transformative power of storytelling.
About the Author
Jeanette Winterson is the author of seven novels, a short-story collection, a book of essays, and most recently a children's picture book. She has won numerous awards, including the Whitbread First Novel Award, the John Llewelyn Rhys Prize, and the E. M. Forster Award. She lives in Oxfordshire and London.
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