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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  5,282 ratings  ·  457 reviews
Motherless and anchorless, red-headed Silver is taken in by the timeless Mr. Pew, keeper of the Cape Wrath lighthouse, located at the isolated northwestern tip of Scotland. Pew teaches her to “man the light” but more importantly he tells her ancient tales of longing and rootlessness, of ties that bind and of the slippages that occur throughout every life, not least those o ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Vintage Canada (first published 2004)
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I kind of wanted to like this more than I did; I really love Winterson's writing, and her language here is as beautiful as ever. The problem I had with the novel is that it felt that there were several stories going on here, none of which were ever fully fleshed out or made real to me. I greatly enjoyed reading it, but when I finished I didn't feel like I had read a full novel; instead, it felt more like a series of vignettes waiting to be fleshed out.
An extraordinary, lyrical book that is about the power of storytelling in - and about - our lives.

Other themes are light/dark/blindness (literal and metaphorical), outcasts, and the contrast between permanence and immobility (symbolised by the lighthouse) and change (people and the sea).

The fictional characters (one of whom has strong parallels with Winterson - see below) have some interaction with real characters and their works (Darwin, Robert Louis Stevenson and Wagner), and a broadly realis
lori mitchell
really can't get enough of winterson. this is a delicious little book, very easy to read...i finished it in a day.

favorite excerpts:

"What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don't want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don't want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you."

Nobody writes quite like Jeanette Winterson. Even when I lose the plot literally, which I did, I enjoy reading her. It’s a mix of stories, and I’m not sure I got all the connections. I enjoyed the blend for the first three quarters of the book but seemed to drift off at the end. Still, she’s a 4 read.

10-year-old Silver and her single mum live in a house on a hillside so steep that they sleep in hammocks and eat food that will stick to the plate (peas roll away forever), and they tie themselve
well I gave it 4 stars before I finished as I loved the way it challenges standard narrative...BUT the last 2 chapters kind of blew she just chucked in a few pages from her journal... so downgrading it to 3 stars.

14/03/13 1 of 19 books for $10

***********QUOTES ********* SPOILERS****************

He doubted her. You must never doubt the one you love.
but they might not be telling you the truth.
What do you mean?
you can't be another person's honesty, child, but you can be your own.
So what
Kasia James
I loved this book - perhaps because it came at a time when my head was very busy with other stuff. It's a breath of salted air in your lungs. If you like nice linear, predictable books with a defined structure, then this one is not for you. But if you're happy to be wound in the seaweed curls of Winterson's prose poetry then this book is a delight.
The version I read (the Kindle edition) also has some excellent interviews with the author, which are inspiring and really help to understand how she
Jul 02, 2009 Melody rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melody by: Bryan Johnson
I know - I'm "currently reading" 3 books already. But only one of them is fiction - so that's really the only one I count. And it's 892 pages long! I'm enjoying Shadow Country , but its work to read. This book is play. I'm not very far in Lighthousekeeping. In fact I picked it up just for a little distraction from the weight of Shadow Country, just planning on reading the book jacket and putting it right back down. Then I moved on to the first page ..."My mother called me Silver. I was born par ...more
If you've never read any Winterson before, this might be a good place to start, even though it's one of her most recent books. It's a fairly short novel, and the text is rather spare, but Winterson is skilled at creating memorable passages with just a few words. The novel encompasses several stories, opening with the tale of orphaned Silver, who is sent off to live with an old blind man named Pew in a lighthouse on the coast of northwest Scotland. Pew tells Silver different tales while he teache ...more
Gail Winfree
Without a doubt, Jeanette Winterson is one of the finest writers of contemporary literary fiction. “Lighthousekeeping” is a story about a young orphan girl taken in be a blind and mysterious lighthouse keeper who tells stories about a 19th century clergyman who leads a double life: “a public one mired in darkness and deceit, and a private one bathed in the light of passionate love.” As I write in my own novel, “The Reality of Being Lovers,” “Lighthousekeeping” is a love story, but you don’t know ...more
The book is about love. Also change, evolution, staying the same, but mostly love. The part that struck me tonight as I finished it was the Jekyll and Hyde theme in the book, so glaring to me today as the entire Spitzer drama unfolded and he resigned as the "evil" side was revealed. In the book, Jekyll and Hyde, Dark and light are two essential parts of the same person. Inseparable and not surprising they are both there. The ability to tell a story is what saves people. Not a surprising conclusi ...more
Kate Savage
"If you tell yourself like a story, it doesn’t seem so bad."

Of course I fell in love with this book immediately. Yes -- I'll use the old cliche 'fall in love,' this book gives you permission to know better and all the same keep using the word 'love.' But then I worried that it was too lovely, too tidy in its thumping end-lines. What saves it is its scattered form. This book has to be scraps and fragments to offset its pristine, shapely sentences.

Winterson is an astonishing story-teller, so much
Nicole Villaluz
"A beginning, a middle and an end is the proper way to tell a story. But I have difficulty with that method." Winterson was right to this line. Time is a huge factor in the story, and Winterson has always confessed that she has no sense of it (also same as to Sexing the Cherry). The story follows the life of Silver, a young girl orphaned by the death of her mother, her only parent, and was taken in by Pew, the keeper of the town's lighthouse. The story is beguiling in its own cryptic ways, heigh ...more
Winterson writes gorgeously, and the loopy world of fable that she begins her novella in (and anchors it in periodically) creates a somewhat off-kilter (literally in the first scene, set in a house askew)atmosphere that allows the reader to meditate on storytelling, memory, and intimacy without worrying so much about the literal or realistic. The more that the novella was in the world of Silver's childhood, filled with stories, the more it satisfied me; I'm not sure that I was as moved by her lo ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Lighthousekeeping, by Jeanette Winterson. B-plus.
I was fortunate to get this book in braille from the LIbrary for the Blind.

This book was wonderful in its way. I suppose it could be called metafiction. It was hard to tell at times what was story and what was truth. A girl, who called herself “silver” lived in a badly built house on top of a cliff with her mother. Her mother fell to her death, and ultimately Silver went to live at the lighthouse with the lighthousekeeper, Pugh, who was blind. The
Second book of the readathon! I love Jeanette Winterson's writing, but I just don't love her books. Does that make any sense? I love the way she uses words, the ebb and flow of her prose, but it never becomes a satisfying whole for me. I think I find it easier to accept, the more I read of her stuff, but I'm still not quite there yet.

I never know what to say about her work because of it. I loved the beginning of this, and the story within the story about Babel Dark, but I don't think it was sati
Jenny (Reading Envy)
The story comes together from different segments of characters' lives. I want to read more of Winterson's writings.
Russell Sanders
I'm at a loss here. Winterson is a skillful and poetic writer who has won awards and gotten accolades for this book. It was a quick read, but it left me baffled. Apparently it is about the nature of love and the importance of storytelling.(I got that info from the jacket flap.) As a writer myself and a teacher of literature, I enjoy analyzing. But I don't even know where to begin with the convolution this book presents. As I read, I was constantly asking myself, "Who is telling the story now? Wh ...more
Juanita Rice
Dec 26, 2011 Juanita Rice rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: convalescents.
Recommended to Juanita by: G. Slate
Shelves: fiction

A rather short book in an eccentric, almost idiosyncratic style, which I can't quite call a novel, but neither is it by any means a short story. It is prose, and incantation, and aphorism, and perhaps too tidily metaphorical. But ultimately worth the quick read. I put it on the "fiction" shelf but it might be just as happy as "fantasy.

It tells the story of the stories the girl Silver heard, learned, witnessed and created in her attempt to survive being a fatherless and fortuneless and clueless
LIGHTHOUSEKEEPING was my return to Winterson's writing after a long absence. This novel is uneven, but the better parts clearly demonstrate Winterson's considerable strengths as a writer: hauntingly poetic prose, mesmerizing in its rhythms, and a deployment of language that is rich, deft, nuanced, but never ostentatious. Winterson's themes (across her whole body of work) don't run broadly, but they run deep: the perils attendant upon how we construct our identities; what really matters in life a ...more
This is the first book of Jeanette Winterson's I've read, and while I enjoyed it, I found, more often than not, that I was devouring her language rather than the story itself. It's actually two stories woven together-- the story of the lead character, Silver and the history of Babel Dark, a notorious figure from her seaside town. I preferred the beginning of the book to its conclusion, which isn't unusual for me-- I could have easily read a 400-page novel just on Silver and Pew and done away wit ...more
Annoushka Lyvers
Hands down, my favorite book by Winterson. The prose is so beautiful it made me giddy. The first lines in the book say it all:
"My mother called me Silver. I was born part precious metal part pirate. I have no father."
The entire book reads like narrative poetry, but what I like best is it ends with love. That's my kind of HEA (Happily Ever After).
The book is a story within a story. The first tale is about Silver, living in a lighthouse with the enigmatic keeper of the lighthouse, Pew. He tells Si
Winterson's writing is gorgeous and witty, but unfortunately all the wonderful things she writes here don't really end up going anywhere. The novel starts off as the story of an orphan girl named Silver who is adopted by a lighthousekeeper, who besides tending the lighthouse also specializes in telling stories, and tells us the story of Josiah Dark.

Now, the idea of a story within a story is great, and works quite well for a while, until a third story is added, this time told by Silver to... well
God, I love Winterson so much. Literally every sentence she writes is quotable. This book careens out of prose and into poetry most of the time; even when it doesn't, it's still beautiful.

It is not a standard narrative; as such, it has no real plot in the traditional sense. Rather, it's a series of vignettes, really, in the life of the main character, Silver. Characters appear, events happen, characters disappear, all without regard for the traditional values of a "good" novel.

And I love it beca
E. Kimble

There is some absolutely goddamn gorgeous prose in this book, but it'd hit a lot harder if the structure as a whole (or, er, the lack thereof) didn't feel so self-conscious.

People have said it feels like poetry, and that's sometimes true--but often it feels like that kind of poetry too riddled with line breaks, pauses for breath or profound reflection that just aren't needed. Silver's narrative voice is intimate, but vague. She talks about telling stories so much, but her own stories falter ben
Jeanette Winterson came to Chicago during the tour of this book. It was a very exciting reading that I will never forget. I brought my books to be signed by her and she was very gracious and quite personable when it was my turn to speak to her. We all must remember, myself included, that even great writers are just people underneath it all.

Anyways, when I got home the first thing I did when I got home was plop down on my couch and devoured this book. I was like a kid in a candy shop, I just coul
Bar Shirtcliff
This book didn't start out as well as Sexing the Cherry, but by the end of it, I loved it. So, not as strong, but still wonderful. Just be patient.

Both of these books are animated by Winterson's notions of the complexity of what we call reality, of the depth of what lies beneath the surface of time and the possibility that some of it isn't as deeply buried as we think. I love this kind of stuff because I've never understood why everything is so simple and so clear for most people, so mystifying
Th lyrically told story of an orphan girl's friendship with the timeless light-housekeeper, Mr Pew.
Loved the opening, which promised the wanderings through love and loss by a unique mind. I was not disappointed.
Nidhi Mahajan
Read this book if you love stories, imaginative fiction, simple but beautiful writing, fragmentary narratives, dynamic (not static or unidimensional) characters, and books and libraries. Also read it if you love love.
Beautifully written, Lighthousekeeping is about a young girl raised by an elderly male lighthouse keeper. There is a plot, and there is an under-plot: the mythic journey of symbols. As always, Winterson weaves narrative with myth. parallels longing with met desire, and loneliness vis a vis solitude. Plays on words, such as light (bearing reference to spirit), and light (not heavy) are part of Winterson's charm. As is typical of Winterson's books, she imparts a feeling of spirituality (rather tha ...more
Overall the book was OK.

I liked that the characters and stories in the book aren't concerned with chronology as much as they are focused on places. Thus stories are told through the space they occupy instead of the person they are about. I also enjoyed how all the characters and stories were woven together like a spider web.

The book lost my attention when the stories ceased to be those of the town of Salts and instead became the stories of Silver's later life. I found myself loving the book unt
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Novelist Jeanette Winterson was born in Manchester, England in 1959. She was adopted and brought up in Accrington, Lancashire, in the north of England. Her strict Pentecostal Evangelist upbringing provides the background to her acclaimed first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, published in 1985. She graduated from St Catherine's College, Oxford, and moved to London where she worked as an assi ...more
More about Jeanette Winterson...
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Written on the Body Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? The Passion Sexing the Cherry

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“I knew it like destiny, and at the same time, I knew it as choice.” 175 likes
“As for myself, I am splintered by great waves. I am coloured glass from a church window long since shattered. I find pieces of myself everywhere, and I cut myself handling them.” 107 likes
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