- Paperback: 232 pages
- Publisher: Harvest Books; 1 edition (April 3, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156032899
- ISBN-13: 978-0156032896
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,028,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lighthousekeeping 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
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."
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From The New Yorker
In her sea-soaked and hypnotic eighth novel, Winterson turns the tale of an orphaned young girl and a blind old man into a fable about love and the power of storytelling. Silver, abandoned after the death of her mother in the Scottish town of Salts—a "rock-bitten, sand-edged shell of a town"—is taken in by Pew, a yarn-spinning lighthouse keeper "as old as a unicorn." In the darkness of the lighthouse, he tells never-ending stories about the tortured life of a nineteenth-century clergyman, formerly a minister in Salts, and gradually, it seems, Silver contributes stories of her own. Atmospheric and elusive, Winterson's high-modernist excursion is an inspired meditation on myth and language.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
Top customer reviews
What I have long been interested with Winterson's work is her beautiful prose that has been delicately transplanted to a contemporary format. Her imagery and diction generally stopped being produced with the literary masters from the nineteenth century, and this may be why her plots often return to those days, yet Winterson's style is not in the least antiquated.
If you are a fan of Winterson's body of work then you will surely enjoy LIGHTHOUSEKEEPING, as it is a striking variation of previous efforts, but Winterson through and through. To anyone unfamiliar with Winterson, and interested in a highly polished hybridization of romance and soft-eroticism, I highly recommend LIGHTHOUSEKEEPING as a first soirée.
I read the Kindle version and particularly enjoyed the author's explanations about how she works, and about not forcing writing, but allowing it to bubble up from the unconscious.