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Lighthousekeeping by [Winterson, Jeanette]
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Lighthousekeeping Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Review

‘The importance of stories, the urge to create ourselves through stories, is one of Winterson’s abiding themes, along with the supremacy, the redemptive power of love.’ Daily Telegraph

‘A marvelously skilful juggling act of ideas and emotion … Winterson’s prodigious talent brings the book alive.’ Evening Standard

‘The power of Lighthousekeeping is in … the pared-down precision of its language, each word smoothed into a finely polished pebble.’ Observer

Independent

"...brilliant, glittering piece of work that makes you gasp out loud at the sheer beauty of the language."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 240 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (28 Jun. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003U2T7IG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #192,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If ever a book warranted the over-used (and usually optimistic) critical phrase "a return to form," Lighthousekeeping is it. After the brilliant but dense and closed Art & Lies (of which Winterson now says "It was written at a time when I was looking inwards, not outwards ... sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't"), the patchy Gut Symmetries and the (in my view) atrocious The PowerBook, Lighthousekeeping - supposedly the beginning of a new cycle in her writing - is a breath of sea air.
As a new cycle in her writing (she says her first seven novels were a complete cycle in themselves), it doesn't half look a lot like the old one. But this is to be expected: all writers revisit their old turf throughout their lives: as Martin Amis said when pre-empting such criticisms of Yellow Dog, "the perspective is like a shadow moving across a lawn." So Lighthousekeeping retains Winterson's abiding interest in love ("the greatest human achievement"), storytelling ("Trust me. I'm telling you stories"), the multiplicity of history, parentless children and boundaries of desire, but puts them in the service of something lighter and brighter than we have seen from her probably since Sexing the Cherry.
The story is narrated by Silver. Silver's gender remains undeclared through most of the book, as a ten-year-old child, which I thought was an echo of Written on the Body where Winterson did the same thing, although I have never been able to read the narrator there as anything other than a woman, and a Jeanette-shaped woman at that. Anyway towards the end we discover that Silver when fully grown wears a bra, so we can - probably - put paid to that theory. Silver is orphaned when her mother, roped to her to climb the slope to their home, falls.
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Format: Paperback
Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson tells the story of Silver, a young girl who is orphaned when her mother falls to her death as they climb the cliff that leads to their house. Silver moves in initially with a carer and then into the local lighthouse which is run by a man named Pew. Pew is blind but he is an excellent storyteller, and stories form the basis for their bond.

The lighthouse reflects the way Pew sees the world- in darkness: "The darkness had to be brushed away or parted before we could sit down", and also the way he finds light within that dwelling. Pew tells Silver the story of Babel Dark, a local pastor who married two women, one because he loved her and one because she was pregnant. His tale is foreboding and enchanting and Dark is revered as an almost legendary or mythical figure, however his life is based on lies and deceit and these are eventually his undoing.
Silver feeds on Pew's stories as an escape from her mother's recent death and since she has no companions besides Pew and her dog. When Pew has to leave his role as lighthousekeeper, Silver is left to fend for herself in the reality of the world and create her own stories.

Winterson's writing style in Lighthousekeeping is charmingly poetic and even lyrical at times. This is a story about stories and the importance of storytelling. This book is not an easy read as it is so rich with the nuances of storytelling, blurring fact with fiction and crossing time to bring characters from different eras to life.

Lighthousekeeping is both experimental and unusual. I felt that it slipped into the fairytale genre halfway through the book, and left a lot of its plot for the reader's imagination to unravel. It is a short read and by the end I felt nourished by its refreshing method of storytelling.
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Format: Hardcover
Silver is a girl born completely by chance. Her mother had a brief encounter with a sailor, leaving the penniless woman to raise the baby girl in a crooked house tipping into the sea. The house was so slanted that the family dog's legs grew irregularly and they couldn't eat any food that would roll away. Eventually Silver is taken by a hilariously prudish woman named Miss Pinch (a curiously Dickensian touch from an author who has spoken so condescendingly about the work of Sarah Waters) to live with a lighthouse keeper named Pew. From Pew she learns the art of story telling and consequently a way of finding value in her life. Because of her origins and social status Silver is viewed by people like Miss Pinch as worthless or an accident. Through the medium of story telling Silver is able to forge for herself an identity more true than any documented reality.
Interwoven with the tale of the novel's central character Silver, is the story of a priest named Babel Dark. He is a fascinatingly divided character, something Winterson has Robert Louise Stevenson cement in English literature. As always, the author's surreal nature of story telling melds with philosophical insights which have the ability to really turn our world upside down. Stunningly beautiful passages add depth to wonderfully quirky tales. Winterson always holds up the importance of storytelling in a way that is ceaselessly inventive and inspiring and makes you want to read on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Winterson is an exceptional writer and has a beautiful imagination but...this book is dull as. I wanted to like it - lighthouses, fables, salty old seadogs, mermaids, girls called Silver. But even its non-linear structure could not keep my interest. Shame.
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