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 of the local inhabitants. One local, Babel Dark, a nineteenth-century clergyman who loved one woman but married another, 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 regret, stories of unending journeys that move through places and times, and the bleak finality of the shores of betrayal.
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 and the lighthouses we strive towards. Jeanette Winterson is one of the most extraordinary and original writers of her generation and this shows her at her lyrical best.
From the Hardcover edition.