There are many reasons I am a Jeanette Winterson fan, and I couldn’t possibly share them all here, but I just finished Lighthousekeeping, and I liked it so much I read it almost straight through. I’ve been a Winterson fan since her first few books came out, and though I still hold her earliest books at the top of my list (Sexing the Cherry, The Passion, Written on the Body), it’s easy to find examples of why she’s brilliant at her craft in any of her books. Anyway, a quick excerpt that caused me to fold the corner of the page over so I could return to it easily…
In the morning I was awoken early by the chromatic bell of the Orthodox Church.
I unlatched the shutters. The light was as intense as a love affair. I was blinded, delighted, not just because it was warm and wonderful, but because nature measures nothing. Nobody needs this much sunlight. Nobody needs droughts, volcanoes, monsoons, tornadoes, either, but we get them, because our world is as extravagant as a world can be. We are the ones obsessed by measurement. The world just pours it out.
I went outside, tripping over slabs of sunshine the size of towns. The sun was like a crowd of people, it was a party, it was music. The sun was blaring through the walls of the houses and beating down the steps. The sun was drumming time into the stone. The sun was rhythming the day.
‘Why are you afraid?’ I asked myself, because fear is at the bottom of everything, even love usually rests on fear. ‘Why are you afraid, when whatever you do you will die anyway?’
Among my friends, there are a few that really love her work and a few that really aren’t that into it. I don’t think I’m capable of defining what it is about her writing that is so captivating to me. I can only say it refreshes my brain and my senses. It’s like that moment you realize you had no idea you were so thirsty until the first spill from a tall glass of water runs over your tongue and down your throat.