Lighthousekeeping, the eighth novel from Jeanette Winterson, features Charles Darwin, Robert Louis Stevenson, a girl named Silver and a love story that is more concerned with the telling than the implications for its characters. Silver is a young girl who becomes orphaned when her mother is literally blown off the trail to their home in the town of Salts, Scotland. With no prospects and a stain on her character stemming from the circumstances of her conception, she becomes apprentice to Pew, the blind lighthouse keeper at Cape Wrath. As she adapts to her new life she learns that everything - from the many ships at sea to her own life, adrift on rocky waves, is a story, one that may not necessarily have a beginning, or an end, but will always have the many paths that lie in the middle of any good tale. her way into this world of stories comes from one the blind Mr. Pew tell sher of Babel Dark, who trades love for something other, and betrays his own heart twice in the bargain.
Forging together myth, poetry and the rhythms of the heart has always been Winterson's strong suit, and if Lighthousekeeping isn't as strong as some of her best work (The Passion, Sexing the Cherry), it still succeeds as fable and testimonial to the power that stories hold over all our lives. The language is playful and exuberant, and the many jumps in narrators and multiple storylines over different decades serve to remind the reader that all stories are woven from the same fabric, and that the joy is never in find an ending, but in relishing the way the story told.