10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Defies easy definitions!,
This review is from: The Daylight Gate (Hardcover)
An interesting novella which brings an additional dimension to both Winterson's previous work and the Hammer "genre" itself.
The writer has considerable "style" and from the opening sentences about "the north" you know you are in the hands of a master (mistress?) crafts-person.
However the book does feel rather more like a treatment for a potential film project than a fully fledged novel. There is little sense of developed characterisation and some errors in detail (eg how long it would have taken to get from France to Lancashire etc). As a result you don't really engage in the narrative or really care about the characters or plot.The biggest problem is identifying who this book is intended for and this has been picked up in several paper reviews. Still, breaking the rules is very typical of JW and this mixture of magic, historical fact and decidedly "gothic" chills, defies easy definition. So with very substantial caveats I would recommend it as a pre-Hallowe'en read or for anyone visiting the Pendle area who wants a rather more imaginative re-telling of the story of the local witches than those pamphlets available at the tourist information centre. However this book is neither 'Mist over Pendle' or Aimsworth's 'The Lancashire Wiches' both of which have considerably more detail and narrative power. "The Daylight Gate" is simply a rather slight "diversion" which left this reader occasionally entertained, bemused but ultimately unsatisfied - and as an admirer of Winterson and much of her work, disappointed too.