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Lighthousekeeping

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,542 Ratings  ·  481 Reviews
The young orphan Silver is taken in by the ancient lighthousekeeper Mr. Pew, who reveals to her a world of myth and mystery through the art of storytelling. A magical, lyrical tale from one of Britain's best-loved literary novelists. of the Cape Wrath lighthouse. Pew tells Silver ancient tales of longing and rootlessness, of the slippages that occur throughout every life. ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 2004)
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Cecily
Nov 26, 2015 Cecily rated it really liked it
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
...more
Kirsten
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.
lori mitchell
Jul 13, 2007 lori mitchell rated it really liked it
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."

"I
...more
PattyMacDotComma
Aug 29, 2015 PattyMacDotComma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4
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
...more
Miquel Reina
I read Lighthouse keeping because a recommendation of a publisher I met some time ago and I still remember when she said to me: you have to read this book because it has something special that I know you'll appreciate. The truth is that I had never read any of the books of Jeanette Winterson, but the words of the editor made me feel very curious.
The story caught me instantly. It was almost like a love at first sight, in which each of the pages dragged me like a giant octopus into the depths of a
...more
Velvetink
Mar 24, 2013 Velvetink rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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 that....like 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
...more
Kasia James
Feb 18, 2014 Kasia James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
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
...more
Ione
Mar 30, 2007 Ione rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Melody
Jul 02, 2009 Melody rated it liked it  ·  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
Gail Winfree
Dec 29, 2013 Gail Winfree rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sub_zero
Jan 02, 2016 Sub_zero rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reto-2016
Ahora sí, Winterson. Aunque la escritora británica y yo no empezamos con buen pie, La niña del faro es un auténtico despliegue de sensibilidad literaria y refinamiento en el arte de fabricar historias. Valiéndose de una niña huérfana que ejerce como voz narradora, Winterson entreteje una laberíntica red de relatos en los que brilla sobre todo la reconfortante calidez de su prosa y el significado tan personal que Winterson es capaz de imprimir al lenguaje. Tierna, evocadora e imbuida de una atmós ...more
Jennifer
Mar 12, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 18, 2015 Kate Savage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
...more
Cat
Jan 06, 2012 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Stacia
Oct 23, 2015 Stacia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacia by: Rose
Shelves: favorites, europe, 2015
What a lovely & beautiful book.

I think Pew has entered my list of favorite book characters.

Highly recommended.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 24, 2007 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read06, favorites
The story comes together from different segments of characters' lives. I want to read more of Winterson's writings.
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
Mark
Apr 17, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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
Lindsay
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
...more
Arsénico
Dec 20, 2015 Arsénico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Necesito procesarlo para poder hablar de él. Jeanette Winterson hace magia con las palabras. Es uno de esos libros donde lo importante no es el qué sino el cómo. Cómo te lo cuenta. Una historia dentro de otra historia, que a su vez guarda un sinfín de historias más. Porque la vida es eso, un montón de historias que no tienen final. Una auténtica delicia.
Kate
Feb 25, 2009 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed-by-author
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
...more
Bar Shirtcliff
Jan 29, 2009 Bar Shirtcliff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Matthew
Oct 19, 2014 Matthew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project-abcs
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
...more
Atlas
Jan 28, 2016 Atlas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Winterson tem um problema: a primeira pessoa dela é MUITO boa, pessoal, forte, emotiva. A terceira pessoa soa forçada, enfadonha, tediosa e nem um pouco Winterson. Esse livro é escrito nas duas vozes, entrelaçando, primeiro, duas histórias, e depois mais, e mais, e mais, e uma doideira só com personagens que se repetem e têm paralelos.

A história começa com a Silver, uma órfã que vive na ilha de Salts com o guardião do farol Pew - que é um e muitos, presente e passado, tudo - e ouve suas histór
...more
Ashen
Aug 15, 2014 Ashen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Fiona
Marker, guide, comfort and warning.
Lexy
Oct 06, 2012 Lexy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Jeanette Winterson book. At first I was perplexed with the wording of the book and put it aside. Then I sought out the reviews, which I have found myself doing when I read a book that opens questions in my mind. Thankfully, most of those reviews were positive and I returned to my reading and once I started again, was not able to put the book down. I believe Winterson is a master poet at heart. Not sure if she has even written any poetry, unless a book in itself can be called a p ...more
Latte La Chook
Dec 31, 2015 Latte La Chook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. Some of Winterson's phrases stay with me still. 'My life is a hesitation in time. An opening in a cave. A gap for a word.' It was a great story about a little girl who grew up in a bizarre house with her mother and then was adopted by a man in a lighthouse. The history and research and connections in this book are the things you find when you start researching; digging. I loved the terminology. The thinking, the ideas, the recollections. I will read it again.
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
...more
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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
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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.” 113 likes
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