Lighthousekeeping, the novel

Have you come across a good book, story or narrative regarding lighthouses, keepers, or lighthouse-related material? Share it here.

Postby Leah Loar-Mays » Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:15 am

I must admit, I am intrigued! Has anyone read this book?~Leah

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel's Books Editor Chris Watson on Jeanette Winterson's novel, "Lighthousekeeping".

RLS would like this lighthouse tale

At first, the swaying, buoy-like rhythm of Jeanette Winterson's novel, "Lighthousekeeping" struck me like something Lemony Snicket might attempt.

The language had the same bright, circus quality to it; the story line teetering between metaphor and myth.

But further reading dispelled that first impression, replacing it with another hardly less full of bluster.

"Lighthousekeeping" is an homage to the great Scottish storyteller Robert Louis Stevenson and to storytelling in general.

Perched at the end of Cape Wrath, near the Scottish seaside town of Salts, lies a lighthouse.

It is here that a girl called Silver digs for her roots, aided by fellow characters Babel Dark and old blind Pew, a dog named Jim, near an inn called the Rock and Pit, by a ship called the McCloud.

Aarrgh, matey.

Winterson couldn't have picked a more memorable story to peg her account to. Because the story's so widely known, it allows her to spend less time on the specifics and more time on the matter at hand: writing about the circular nature of stories.

She writes: "Doors opening into rooms that opened onto doors that opened into rooms."

Identity is something like that too, Silver decides as she searches for her history amongst others' stories.

At home in the lighthouse, Silver adjusts the focus of her metaphor: "There is no continuous narrative, there are lit up moments and the rest is dark."

The chronology of this tale ebbs and flows, with the stories cycling back upon each other until Silver sees the treasure laid bare.

To the author and narrator of this novel, life is an adventure story and love the lighthouse that keeps us from crashing upon the rocks.

The fact that Stevenson's grandfather designed and built the famous Bell Rock Lighthouse in the Firth of Forth adds another dimension to the story.
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Postby epona » Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:42 pm

Thank you for posting this.

I am in class in Bangor this week, so I will keep this short. No I have not read this book.

More about a lighthouse I did read this summer later.

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Postby COTA » Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:07 pm

Thanks for the info.
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