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Lighthousekeeping

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  7,121 ratings  ·  650 reviews
Lighthousekeeping tells the tale of Silver ("My mother called me Silver. I was born part precious metal, part pirate."), an orphaned girl who is taken in by blind Mr. Pew, the mysterious and miraculously old keeper of a lighthouse on the Scottish coast. Pew tells Silver stories of Babel Dark, a nineteenth-century clergyman. Dark lived two lives: a public one mired in darkn ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published April 3rd 2006 by Mariner Books (first published 2004)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,121 ratings  ·  650 reviews


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Fionnuala
Yesterday I finally stepped out of the enchanted circle in La Mancha where I'd spent the last three weeks, and I thought about perhaps and maybe and possibly attempting to read another book, a different book, but sadly not an enchanted book because I had no more such books, and I wasn’t happy about that.

So I picked this book. My initial feeling was that there couldn't be two books as diametrically opposed as Don Quixote and Lighthousekeeping. One is set in the sun-filled plains of early seventee
...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Tell me a story, reader.

What story?

About reading this book and what it means.

Okay, then I will tell you about light and dark, sun and shadows, about the power of story telling in times of despair, about how two different people can inhabit the same person, like Jekyll and Hyde and about how sometimes fate throws in a curve and brings us full circle.


If you have read this you will understand the above sentences, if not I'll just say, Winterson is often challenging, beautiful sentences, mixed with
...more
Cecily
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
Charlotte May
" I am a glass man, but there is no light in me that can shine across the sea. I shall lead no one home, save no lives, not even my own."

My second time reading Lighthousekeeping. It's a beautiful quiet tale that begins in a lighthouse in Scotland, with Pew and an orphan named Silver in the 1800s.
Though not rich in plot, this story focuses on people and our different sides, and the stories we tell to both ourselves and each other. Telling stories within a story. The main story we hear from Pew i
...more
Kirsten
Feb 27, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-pre-12-07, owned
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.
Miquel Reina
I read Lighthousekeeping thanks to a recommendation of an editor 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 publisher made me feel very curious.
The story caught me instantly. The book was almost like a love at first sight, in which each of the pages dragged me like a giant octopus into the dep
...more
Jo
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Love is an unarmed intruder."

I don't care what anybody says, nobody writes like Jeanette Winterson. I have read quite a few books from Winterson now, and I can safely say she is certainly one of my favourite authors.
Even at times where I lost track of the plot a little and I trailed off course, I still enjoyed the writing. It is powerful and mystifying and it's like just a mere sentence from this author, can speak to my soul.
This book was not as strong as "Written on the body" or "The Passion"
...more
lori mitchell
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 15, 2015 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 themsel
...more
Jeanette
May 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is exactly the kind of morose and drilling of the fact that life is impermanent exercise that I probably dislike far more than 90% of other poor writing experiments for every degree of word craft and skill in their telling.

Yes, it is poetic at times and the story, when it was there or re-arrived, held an interest or two. But as I noted in the comment written as I approached the very end- not a fan. Do I lack imagination? Most probably. Do I like structure in a tale about tales. Absolutely.

S
...more
Katerina Charisi
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Η μεγάλη μαγεία σ’ αυτό το μικρό βιβλιαράκι είναι στην αφήγηση. Είναι τόσο ιδιαίτερη κι όσο γυρνούσα τις σελίδες ήμουν σίγουρη ότι τη συγγραφέα την έχω ξαναδιαβάσει. Δε θυμόμουν όμως πού, πότε και τι είχα διαβάσει κι άρχισα να ψάχνω στο διαδίκτυο τα βιβλία της. Από τους ξενόγλωσσους τίτλους- γιατί μόνο τρία έχουν μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά και το ένα από αυτά δεν υπάρχει πουθενά ούτε ως αναφορά- δεν μπόρεσα να το βρω. Όμως έλεγα μέσα μου ότι δεν μπορεί να κάνω τόσο λάθος. Την έχω ξαναδιαβάσει. Τελ ...more
Velvetink
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Gail Winfree
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 by 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
Helene Jeppesen
After having finished "Lighthousekeeping" which I've had recommended to me by several friends, I'm left with an overall impression of vague disappointment. The novel simply didn't live up to my high expectations, and I have a theory why that is.
The writing in this novel is absolutely impeccable! Especially the first couple of chapters took my breath away, and there is no doubt that Jeanette Winterson knows her craft. However, whenever I sit down to read a novel I want to be told a story that dr
...more
Montse Gallardo
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
De lo mejor que he leido últimamente. Ningún comentario que pueda hacer creo que le vaya a hacer justicia. Pura poesía en prosa.

Y no es una lectura fácil en el sentido de que no es una historia lineal; son muchas historias, que son la misma, pero diferentes; en la que hay saltos temporales, personajes distintos, escenarios diferentes, pero siempre un mismo anhelo, el amor. Y ese amor -su búsqueda y su pérdida, el saberse merecedor del mismo (o no) o el saber cómo transmitirlo, cómo recibirlo, c
...more
Esther
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro precioso, recubierto por un halo de emociones de principio a fin.
Sub_zero
Jan 02, 2016 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
Melody
Apr 15, 2009 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
Ione
Mar 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Kasia James
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Emily
Δεν κατάφερα να βρω πολλές αρετές στο βιβλίο.
Η γραφή που τόσο εκθειάζεται, δεν με εντυπωσίασε καθόλου.
Και κυρίως, δεν με κινητοποίησε συναισθηματικά στο παραμικρό.
Παρέμεινα αμέτοχη στις ιστορίες και δεν τις βρήκα ούτε καν πρωτότυπες.
Για να είμαι δίκαιη, ξεχώρισα μερικές προτάσεις από το σύνολο, που διασώθηκαν στα μάτια μου :
- Ο Νταρκ ένιωθε τον γνωστό πόνο πίσω από τα μάτια του. Τα μάτια του ήταν κάγκελα και πίσω απαυτά παραμόνευε ένα άγριο, ατάιστο ζώο.
- Είμαι ένα πολύχρωμο τζάμι, το τζάμι σ
...more
Kate Savage
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"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
Jennifer
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Cat
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
AM Lyvers
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read06, favorites
The story comes together from different segments of characters' lives. I want to read more of Winterson's writings.
Stacia
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacia by: Rose
Shelves: 2015, europe, favorites
What a lovely & beautiful book.

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

Highly recommended.
Jeff
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, this was interesting. Lighthousekeeping jumps back and forth between the story of Silver, and orphan living with a blind lighthouse keeper in Scotland in modern times, and Babel Dark, who lived in the mid-1800s and shares a connection to the same lighthouse. Babel's story is told by the blind lighthouse keeper, Pew, whose family tended the lighthouse for generations. Throw in some neat appearances by Charles Darwin and Robert Louis Stevenson and some wonderfully weird and thought-provoking ...more
Joana Arteaga
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maravilloso relato sobre las pérdidas y las elecciones. En sus dos partes, claramente diferenciadas, distingues la pluma sensible y nostálgica de Jeanette Winterson que te envuelve y te transporta al Cabo de la Ira. El apunte de 'Tristán e Isolda' me ha acabado de tocar el corazón. Pew... hecho de magia. Silver, de simples y certerzas palabras.
Imogen Donato
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 - idk how she can write about life and love and all of that so poetically and with such (gentle) authority. Magical tbh.
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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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“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.” 145 likes
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