Lighthousekeeping

Jeanette Winterson

‘A child born of chance might imagine that Chance was its father, in the way that gods fathered children, and then abandoned them, without a backward glance, but with one small gift. I wondered if a gift had been left for me. I had no idea where to look, or what I was looking for, but I know now that all important journeys start that way.’

Motherless and anchorless, Silver is taken in by the timeless Mr. Pew, keeper of the Cape Wrath lighthouse. Pew tells Silver ancient tales of longing and rootlessness, of ties that bind and of the slippages that occur throughout every life. One life, Babel Dark’s, a 19th-century clergyman, opens like a map that Silver must follow. Caught in her own particular darknesses, she embarks on an Ulyssean sift through the stories we tell ourselves, stories of love and loss, of passion and longing, stories of unending journeys that move through places and times, and the bleak finality of the shores of betrayal. But finally,
“I love you. The most difficult words in the world. But what else can I say?” A story of mutability, of talking birds and stolen books, of Darwin and Stevenson and of the Jekyll and Hyde in all of us, ‘Lighthousekeeping’ is a way in to the rooms of our own that we secretly inhabit. Jeanette Winterson is one of the most extraordinary and original writers of her generation and this shows her at her lyrical best.

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